Autobytel Inc., a third-party lead generator for auto dealers and manufacturers, narrowed its first-quarter loss by more than 80 percent.
The company lost $357,000 in the first quarter, compared with a net loss of $2 million during the same quarter last year. The 2008 figure includes income from discontinued operations. In 2008, the company sold its AVV unit, which makes software that helps dealers manage Internet sales leads.
First-quarter revenue declined to $13.9 million, compared with $20.7 million during the same quarter last year.
CEO Jeffrey Coats, in a statement, said "aggressive cost cutting measures" helped narrow the losses and improve gross margins.
During the first quarter of 2009, we continued to focus on improving margins and cash flow on our path to returning Autobytel to profitability, and we made outstanding progress amidst continued external challenges related to the economy and automotive sector.
Coats said the recent settlement of patent litigation also will help the company in the future as it benefits from added automotive content and Web tools.
"Some of this new content has never been available to us before, and will significantly enhance the user experience across our sites, Coats said.
The company released its results yesterday, a few days after receiving an unsolicited $15 million buyout offer from a major investor. On Monday, Trilogy Enterprises Inc. launched a tender offer of 35 cents per share in cash. Trilogy owns 7.4 percent of Autobytel and is its second-largest shareholder.
Autobytel stock closed yesterday at 43 cents. It had been trading at around 27 cents before the Trilogy offer.
Coats said the board of directors will file its response to Trilogys offer with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the next couple of days.