Realtor.com operator Move Inc. (NASDAQ: MOVE) reported Thursday that new product development costs and charges related to the elimination of some business units contributed to a $4.6 million net loss, or 3 cents per share, in the first quarter.
The company’s quarterly loss compared with net income of $163,000 in first-quarter 2007.
Total revenue was $70.4 million in the first quarter, compared with $68.9 million in first-quarter 2007.
An earlier-reported problem with a company’s investment in student-loan auction-rate securities led the company to take a temporary impairment charge of $8.4 million, Move reported.
Move reported that it holds $129.6 million in AAA-rated rated student-loan auction-rate securities backed by the Federal Family Education Loan Program, a private-sector student loan program, and these securities were considered by the company as short-term investments until they failed at auction in February.
David Nierenberg, who represents a Move shareholder group, in March called for Move’s board to remove Long and Move Chief Financial Officer Lewis R. Belote III for the problematic investment in the auction-rate securities, which has tied up money that Nierenberg asserts could have been used to fuel the company’s growth.
In its latest earnings announcement, Move stated, "These funds may not be accessible until future auctions of these investments are successful or they are redeemed by the issuers or they mature." And the maturity dates are more than two decades away, ranging from 2030 to 2047.
Move reported in its earnings statement that it has entered into a revolving line of credit to provide the company access to up to $65 million.
"The line of credit has been secured to provide flexibility to the company as it continues to execute business plans," though the company reported that it already has $47.8 million available in cash and short-term investments and "currently has no plans to draw down on the (credit) line as it believes its liquidity … is adequate to execute its business plans."
Move announced that a new design of its Realtor.com real estate search site is in beta testing.
A secretive new venture, headed up by former Realtor.com President Allan Dalton and former National Association of Realtors Chief Economist David Lereah, has been cancelled even before it launched, Move officials announced during an earnings conference call.
Long said the venture, which the company had only vaguely described in earlier quarterly earnings presentations, did not synch with the company’s newly focused strategy.
Move Inc. President Lorna Borenstein described an upgraded automated valuation product that has been tested out in three markets — including Las Vegas, Jacksonville (Fla.) and Northern Ohio — that allows consumers to view data on for-sale and recently sold properties, and to view the profiles of agents who have actively listed properties in a given area and represented buyers or sellers in recent transactions in a given area.
Also, Realtor.com will now display four free photos for every property displayed at the site, with up to 25 photos available for enhanced listings that Realtors have paid to promote at the site. Historically, the site has allowed only one free photo per listing.
The company announced that it was exiting operations in the manufactured homes segment and has also sold off its home plans business, at HomePlans.com.
A patent lawsuit related to mapping technology has contributed to the company’s expenses, Move officials said during the earnings presentation.
Move’s stock price per share, which dropped below $2 in January, ended regular trading at $3.11 today, up 11 cents from Wednesday’s closing price.
What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor.