WebMD Reports ‘Significant’ Drop in Net Loss in First Quarter of 2002
WebMD Corp. Tuesday reported that the company's first-quarter loss "narrowed significantly" in 2002, as the Internet health care company moved "beyond its restructuring phase" and received a "relative boost" from a new accounting rule, the Wall Street Journal reports. WebMD posted a first-quarter net loss of $29.6 million, or nine cents a share, compared with a net loss of $1.04 billion, or $2.91 a share, a year earlier. WebMD benefited from a new accounting rule that allows companies to "carry goodwill," an "intangible asset reflecting the amount paid for an acquisition over its book value," on their "books indefinitely instead of amortizing it over a period of years." The rule would have reduced WebMD's reported loss in the first quarter last year by $708 million, to $331 million, company officials said (Carrns, Wall Street Journal, 5/8). WebMD also reduced first-quarter corporate expenses to $14.6 million, down from $30.6 million a year a earlier (Dow Jones Business News, 5/7). WebMD reported that first-quarter revenue dropped 3% to $196.3 million from $202.9 million a year earlier. WebMD attributed the decrease in revenue to the elimination of certain business relationships in the company's online health information division that had provided "barter revenue" (Wall Street Journal, 5/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.