Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), the No. 1 e-retailer, reported a third quarter net loss of $274 million, or 60 cents a share, ahead of estimates, and issued a forecast for fourth-quarter revenue that was about $300 million below estimates.
Shares fell about 2 percent to $229.76 in after-hours trading. They’d gained about 40 percent this year.
Amazon’s revenue rose 27 percent to $13.81 billion, about $300 million below estimates. On an operating business, the company’s loss was $28 million, compared with year-earlier net income of $63 million.
The company took a one-time charge of $169 million for its LivingSocial site, which amounted to 37 cents a share. LivingSocial is a daily deals site in which Amazon had invested $175 million in 2010.
“Our approach is to work hard to charge less,” said CEO Jeffrey Bezos. “Sell devices near breakeven and you can pack a lot of sophisticated hardware into a very low price point,” he said of the year-old effort to battle Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable technology company, with the Kindle Fire tablet.
Amazon didn’t say how many Kindle Fires it sold in the quarter, although Bezos said The $199 Kindle Fire HD is the company’s best-selling tablet.
Looking to the fourth quarter, Amazon predicted revenue would range between $20.25 billion and $22.75 billion, or between 16 percent and 31 percent above 2011. On operations, earnings could be as much as $310 million with a loss that could be as much as $490 million, compared with earnings of $260 million a year ago.
Amazon reported cash and investments of $2.9 billion. A year ago, Bezos, who owns 19..5 percent of the company himself, said he would do whatever it took to establish the Kindle Fire as a best-selling product.