Amid a dramatic slowdown in online ad spending, Excite@ Home took a $4.6 billion write-off, acknowledging that some of its acquisitions aren't going to pay off. Although the action doesn't affect operations of its high-speed cable Internet service or its cash flow, it represents more than half of the company's asset base and two-thirds the face value of the acquisitions made over the past few years, including portal Excite.
On the operating side, fourth-quarter revenues totaled $169.1 million, up 31% from the same period in 1999 but just 5.3% from the third quarter.
Also, Excite@Home is trimming 250 employees, or 8% of its work force. The cuts are largely on the Excite Web portal side, with some corporate staffers laid off as well. The company positioned the cuts as prudent trims in a softening market rather than a move of desperation. "This is different from what you're seeing in the dotcom space, where people have to lay off to stay in business," a spokesman said.