Stock Watch: Talks Boost Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch

Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch, Inc. (Nasdaq: TMCS) gained 2 to 14 5/8 Monday after the Pasadena, California-based operator of local and ticket-selling Web sites said it is considering possible transactions with Ticketmaster Corp.

The online company said directors will appoint a special committee to consider transactions that would allow it and Ticketmaster, which is owned by USA Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: USAI), to jointly operate their ticketing and reservation businesses. A deal could involve the issuance of additional Ticketmaster Online shares to USA Networks, which is already the company’s largest shareholder.

Ticketmaster Online president John Pleasants said management is supportive of the plan.

Last week, Ticketmaster Online reported a smaller-than-expected loss for the third quarter, as revenue advanced 108 percent from a year earlier. The loss before items narrowed to $7.6 million, or 11 cents per share, from $12.5 million, or 17 cents.

Traffic during the quarter rose 108 percent from a year earlier to about 773 million page views. The combined reach of the company’s Web sites among home and work users increased to 10 percent in August, with unique users totaling 8.0 million, up 90 percent from a year earlier, Ticketmaster said, citing Media Metrix.

Third-quarter revenue from ticketing services rose 105 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, totaling $34.1 million. Gross transaction value on Ticketmaster.com was approximately $213.1 million, as the site sold more than 4.7 million tickets, or 25.2 percent of the total sold by Ticketmaster Corp. in the U.S., the UK and Canada.

Ticketmaster Online shares set a 52-week low of 9 1/2 on Friday. Late last year, the shares were trading above 40.

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