Yahoo! posts net qtr. Loss

Portal hires ad sales chief

Yahoo! posted a net loss of $24.1 million for the third quarter compared with a net profit of $47.7 million last year, taking a significant blow from the slow advertising market that provides a majority of the portal’s revenues.

The numbers include an investment loss of $17.9 million and one-time charges. Without these results, the net income was $8.4 million, compared with $81.1 million last year, matching analyst expectations.

For the three-month period, net revs were $166.1 million, compared with 2000 results of $295.5 million, and short of the expected $170 million.

“Even for those of us in business for a long time, this economic condition is unprecedented,” said Yahoo! chairman and CEO Terry Semel, who has remained too quiet for Wall Street’s tastes.

“Yes, this is a down market,” he said. “Yes, things are unclear. Yes, advertising is closely tied to the economy overall. However, when things do begin to turn around, we will have refined our capabilities, built out our offerings, introduced new and innovative methods of generating revenue and further developed relationships with agencies and clients.”

To combat the company’s reliance on advertising, Semel said next it year would unveil a significant number of premium services for a fee. These changes may lead to layoffs as different elements of the site are emphasized, execs said.

Also helping is the appointment of Wenda Harris Millard to fill its long-vacant position as head of advertising sales. She most recently was chief Internet officer at publishing company Ziff-Davis Media and president of now-defunct Ziff-Davis Internet. Before that, she was executive vice president and one of the founding members of Internet advertising company DoubleClick.

Earnings were released after the market closed. During the day, shares of Yahoo! were up more than 7% to $10.93.

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