First-quarter loss for Warner Music

From Times Wire Services

Warner Music Group Corp. closed out 2007 with a best-selling holiday album by Josh Groban and a surge in digital music sales.

But the company reported Wednesday that its fiscal first quarter ended in a loss after it booked expenses and a charge from the shutdown of Bulldog Entertainment, a services firm it acquired less than a year ago.

Warner Music reported a loss of $16 million, or 11 cents a share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, after a profit of $18 million, or 12 cents, a year earlier.

The results sent shares of the New York-based music company tumbling $1.80, or 20.6%, to $6.94.

Chris White, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities Inc. in Los Angeles, attributed the plunge to investors cashing in after a stock run-up of more than 45% in recent weeks.

The financial report included an $18-million goodwill impairment charge related to Bulldog in addition to increased selling, general and administrative expenses.

Revenue was $989 million, up 7% from a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected net income of 10 cents a share on sales of $948.9 million.

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