SOURCE: Market Leader Inc.

Market Leader Inc.

February 26, 2009 16:00 ET

Market Leader Announces 2008 and Fourth Quarter Results

KIRKLAND, WA--(Marketwire - February 26, 2009) - Market Leader Inc. (NASDAQ: LEDR) today announced results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2008.

2008 Results

--  Revenue of $38.4 million compared to $59.8 million in 2007
    
--  Net loss of $13.1 million compared to $12.4 million in 2007
    
--  $1.6 million in positive cash flow from operations compared to a
    slight use of cash in 2007
    
--  $1.1 million in Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations compared to
    $2.6 million in 2007
    

"In a year that saw the lowest existing U.S. home sales in the Company's history, Market Leader generated positive cash flow from operations while making significant progress on its strategic objectives," said CEO Ian Morris.

2008 Highlights

Market Leader generated positive cash flow from operations and Adjusted EBITDA despite lower revenues by focusing on customer retention and expense management. The company's customer retention efforts reduced churn by 21 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, a testament to the important role that Market Leader's products play in the lives of its customers. Additionally, the Company's disciplined approach to expense management resulted in a 24 percent increase in revenue per employee in 2008 compared to 2007.

In addition to these operational results, Market Leader demonstrated significant progress against its strategic objectives. The Company leveraged RealtyGenerator's technology platform and business model to develop and launch two new products:

--  Growth Leader - a new marketing solution for real estate agents that
    integrates a consumer-response generating website with a web-based CRM
    tool, and
    
--  Team Leader - the first real estate marketing solution designed
    specifically to address the needs of real estate agent teams.
    

Both products are built on the Vision contact management solution, the next generation of RealtyGenerator's technology platform. In a shift from traditional lead generation, the Vision approach enables customers to generate a steady stream of prospects on their own, branded websites. Real estate professionals then cultivate these consumer relationships in ways not possible in the past, tapping the real-time insight and powerful functionality of their Vision contact management solution.

Based on experience with RealtyGenerator customers as well as early success with both Growth Leader and Team Leader, the Company believes its Vision solutions deliver higher quality, more engaged prospects than typical lead generation products, and that these solutions will positively impact the Company's customer retention and lifetime customer value.

Strong customer success helped drive annual sales growth of the RealtyGenerator product that was acquired in November 2007 and contributed significantly to Market Leader's positive cash from operations in 2008. Market Leader expects to unify its RealtyGenerator and Vision platforms later this year while adding new features and scalability to the platform.

Comparisons of Quarterly Results

--  Revenue was $7.8 million in the fourth quarter compared to $9.3
    million in the third quarter of 2008.  The decline in sequential quarter
    revenue reflected fewer customers and lower average revenue per customer.
    New customer sales declined in the fourth quarter amid the lowest existing
    home sales in the Company's history and prospects' concerns about the
    economy.
    
--  Net loss was $8.8 million in the fourth quarter, including $6.2
    million of non-cash charges, compared to net loss of $1.8 million in the
    third quarter.  The non-cash charges in the fourth quarter net loss
    consisted of $4.9 million impairment of goodwill and $1.3 million related
    to an impairment of an equity investment in an unconsolidated subsidiary.
    
--  Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations was a loss of $0.5 million
    in the fourth quarter compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $0.7 million in the
    third quarter, primarily reflecting reduced revenue.
    
--  Market Leader's cash position remained strong with $58.6 million in
    cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments.  The Company generated
    $0.2 million in cash from operations in the fourth quarter, used $1.0
    million to repurchase stock, and paid off all long-term debt with a $1.6
    million principal payment under terms of a note that came due in December.
    

Cash Position Update

The Company believes that its strong cash position is a strategic asset. Liquidity and security of principal continue to be core to the Company's investment policy. The Company invests in cash equivalents consisting of money market funds that invest in high quality, short-term U.S. government obligations and repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government obligations, and direct investments in U.S. Treasury securities. Short-term investments are comprised of U.S. Treasury securities and FDIC-insured certificates of deposit with terms of one year or less. Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $58.6 million at year-end.

During 2008, Market Leader re-purchased and retired 821,957 shares at an average cost of $2.44 per share, and may purchase up to approximately 928,043 additional shares under the current share repurchase authorization.

Conference Call

Market Leader will host a conference call and live Webcast to discuss fourth quarter financial results on Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time. To listen to the live conference call, please dial 719-325-4810. A live webcast of the call will be available from the Investor Relations section of the Company's Web site at http://www.marketleader.com. An audio replay of the call will also be available to investors beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on February 26 through 11:59 p.m. on February 27 by dialing 719-457-0820 and entering the passcode 4275682#.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements relating to the Company's anticipated plans, products, services, and financial performance. The words "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "intend" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, but their absence does not mean the statement is not forward-looking. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could affect the Company's actual results include its ability to retain and increase its customer base, to respond to competitive threats and real estate market conditions, to manage lead generation and other costs, to develop new products, to expand into new lines of business, and to effectively re-brand and re-launch the Company. Please refer to the Company's 2007 Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a more detailed description of these and other risks that could materially affect actual results. Given these risks and uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are made as of today's date and the Company assumes no obligation to update any such statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.

Non-GAAP Measures

Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations is a non-GAAP financial measure provided as a complement to results in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("GAAP"). The term "Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations" refers to a financial measure that we define as earnings or loss before results of discontinued operations, net interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization, impairment of long-lived assets including goodwill impairment, equity in loss of unconsolidated subsidiary, stock-based compensation and gain on sale of fixed assets. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations is not a substitute for measures determined in accordance with GAAP, and may not be comparable to Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations as reported by other companies. We believe Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations to be relevant and useful information to our investors as this measure is an integral part of our internal management reporting and planning process and is the primary measure used by our management to evaluate operating performance. The components of Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations include the key revenue and expense items for which our operating managers are responsible and upon which we evaluate their performance, and we also use Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for planning purposes and in presentations to our Board of Directors. See below for a reconciliation of net loss, the most comparable GAAP measure, to Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations.

                            Market Leader Inc.
              NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURE AND RECONCILIATION
                              (In thousands)
                                (unaudited)


                           Three months ended         Twelve months ended
                     -------------------------------  --------------------
                     December   September  December   December   December
                     31, 2008   30, 2008   31, 2007   31, 2008   31, 2007
                     ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------

Net loss             $  (8,848) $  (1,808) $  (9,836) $ (13,119) $ (12,375)
Adjustments
  Interest income,
   net                    (128)      (289)      (762)    (1,225)    (2,982)
  Gain on sale of
   fixed assets              -          -          -       (791)         -
  Impairment of
   goodwill and
   long-lived assets     4,883          -      4,916      4,883      6,116
  Impairment of and
   equity in loss of
   unconsolidated
   subsidiary            1,461        207        162      2,004        162
  Income from
   operations of
   discontinued
   mortgage segment          -          -        (37)         -       (194)
  Depreciation and
   amortization of
   property and
   equipment
   from continuing
   operations            1,032      1,040      1,064      4,046      5,634
  Amortization of
   intangible assets
   for continuing
   operations              454        491        333      1,929        760
  Stock-based
   compensation from
   continuing
   operations              743      1,014        940      3,325      3,544
  Income tax expense
   (benefit)               (58)        31      4,041          9      1,954
                     ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------
Adjusted EBITDA from
 continuing
 operations          $    (461) $     686  $     821  $   1,061  $   2,619
                     =========  =========  =========  =========  =========

About Market Leader Inc.

Market Leader (NASDAQ: LEDR) provides real estate professionals with innovative marketing and technology solutions that enable them to grow and manage their business. Founded in 1999 by a second-generation real estate agent, Market Leader provides real estate agents, agent teams, and brokerage companies with subscription software and advertising products that enable them to generate a steady stream of prospects, as well as the tools and training they need to convert these prospects into clients.

With a long history of innovation, Market Leader pioneered online lead generation for real estate professionals a decade ago and today is the leading marketing partner to the real estate industry. The Company also provides consumers with free access to the information and tools they need throughout the home buying and selling process through its national consumer real estate sites. These websites enable Market Leader to provide its customers with access to millions of future home buyers and sellers while providing these consumers with free access to the information they seek throughout the home buying and selling process.

For more information on Market Leader visit www.MarketLeader.com.

LEDR: FINANCIAL

                            Market Leader Inc.
              CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
                  (In thousands, except per share data)
                                (unaudited)


                                 Three months ended   Twelve months ended
                                    December 31,          December 31,
                                --------------------  --------------------
                                  2008       2007       2008       2007
                                ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------

Revenues                        $   7,783  $  12,189  $  38,368  $  59,808
Expenses:
  Sales and marketing (1)           5,464      7,879     24,978     39,453
  Technology and product
   development (1)                  1,536      1,694      6,409      9,114
  General and administrative
   (1)                              1,987      2,735      9,245     12,166
  Gain on sale of fixed assets          -          -       (791)         -
  Impairment of goodwill and
   long-lived assets                4,883      4,916      4,883      6,116
  Depreciation and amortization
   of property and equipment        1,032      1,064      4,046      5,634
  Amortization of intangible
   assets                             454        333      1,929        760
                                ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------
    Total expenses                 15,356     18,621     50,699     73,243
                                ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------
  Loss from operations             (7,573)    (6,432)   (12,331)   (13,435)
Impairment of and equity in
 loss of unconsolidated
 subsidiary                        (1,461)      (162)    (2,004)      (162)
Interest income, net                  128        762      1,225      2,982
                                ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------
Loss before income tax expense     (8,906)    (5,832)   (13,110)   (10,615)
Income tax expense (benefit)          (58)     4,041          9      1,954
                                ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------
  Net loss from continuing
   operations                      (8,848)    (9,873)   (13,119)   (12,569)
Discontinued operations
  Income from operations of
   discontinued mortgage
   segment                              -         57          -        297
  Income tax expense                    -         20          -        103
                                ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------
    Income from discontinued
     operations                         -         37          -        194
                                ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------
        Net loss                $  (8,848) $  (9,836) $ (13,119) $ (12,375)
                                =========  =========  =========  =========

Net loss per share:
Basic and diluted:
  Continuing operations         $   (0.37) $   (0.40) $   (0.54) $   (0.51)
  Discontinued operations       $       -  $       -  $       -  $    0.01
                                ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------
  Total                         $   (0.37) $   (0.40) $   (0.54) $   (0.50)
                                =========  =========  =========  =========

Number of shares used in per
 share calculations                24,105     24,498     24,293     24,520
                                =========  =========  =========  =========

(1) Stock-based compensation is included in the expense line items above
    in the following amounts:

                                ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------
                                  2008       2007       2008       2007
                                ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------

  Sales and marketing           $     290  $     302  $     970  $     804
  Technology and product
   development                         85         93        200        404
  General and administrative          368        545      2,155      2,336
  Discontinued operations               -          -          -         19
                                ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------
                                $     743  $     940  $   3,325  $   3,563
                                =========  =========  =========  =========



                          Market Leader Inc.
                  CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
                    (In thousands, except share data)
                                (unaudited)

                                                        December  December
                                                        31, 2008  31, 2007
                                                        --------  ---------
Assets
Current assets:
  Cash and cash equivalents                             $ 47,668  $  35,450
  Short-term investments                                  10,980     27,400
  Accounts receivable, net of allowance of $29 and $50        79        128
  Prepaid expenses and other assets                        1,480      1,764
  Prepaid income taxes                                         2        905
                                                        --------  ---------
  Total current assets                                   60,209     65,647
Property and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation
 of $13,859 and $11,518                                    4,452      6,187
Goodwill                                                       -      3,833
Intangible assets, net of accumulated amortization of
 $4,506 and $2,576                                         4,179      6,330
Minority investment in unconsolidated subsidiary             584      2,588
Other noncurrent assets                                        -        398
                                                        --------  ---------
      Total assets                                      $ 69,424  $  84,983
                                                        ========  =========

Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity
Current liabilities:
  Accounts payable                                      $    736  $   1,395
  Accrued compensation and benefits                        1,767      2,084
  Accrued expenses and other current liabilities           1,111      1,809
  Deferred rent, current portion                             289        289
  Deferred revenue                                           374        373
  Note payable                                                 -      1,873
                                                        --------  ---------
      Total current liabilities                            4,277      7,823
Deferred rent, less current portion                          303        722
                                                        --------  ---------
      Total liabilities                                    4,580      8,545
Shareholders' equity:
  Preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share, stated
   at amounts paid in; authorized 30,000,000 shares;
   none issued and outstanding                                 -          -
  Common stock, par value $0.001 per share, stated at
   amounts paid in; authorized 120,000,000 shares;
   issued and outstanding 24,035,074 and 24,521,139
   shares at December 31, 2008 and 2007, respectively     67,900     66,375
  (Accumulated deficit) retained earnings                 (3,056)    10,063
                                                        --------  ---------
      Total shareholders' equity                          64,844     76,438
                                                        --------  ---------
      Total liabilities and shareholders' equity        $ 69,424  $  84,983
                                                        ========  =========



                            Market Leader Inc.
              CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
                              (In thousands)
                                (unaudited)
                                                      Twelve months ended
                                                          December 31,
                                                      --------------------
                                                        2008       2007
                                                      ---------  ---------
 Cash flows from operating activities:
  Net Loss                                            $ (13,119) $ (12,375)
  Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash
   provided by (used in) operating activities:
    Depreciation and amortization of property and
     equipment                                            4,046      5,634
    Amortization of intangible assets                     1,929        760
    Stock-based compensation                              3,325      3,563
    Excess tax benefit from exercises of stock
     options                                                  -        (83)
    Deferred income tax expense (benefit)                     -      3,060
    Gain on sale of fixed assets                           (791)         -
    Impairment of goodwill and long-lived assets          4,883      6,116
    Impairment of and equity in loss of
     unconsolidated subsidiary                            2,004        162
    Changes in certain assets and liabilities
      Accounts receivable                                    49        300
      Prepaid expenses and other current assets             284       (773)
      Prepaid income taxes                                  903        995
      Other noncurrent assets                               398         11
      Accounts payable                                     (659)    (1,373)
      Accrued compensation and benefits                    (317)    (1,101)
      Accrued expenses and other current
       liabilities                                         (908)    (3,699)
      Deferred rent                                        (419)      (372)
      Deferred revenue                                        1       (864)
                                                      ---------  ---------
        Net cash provided by (used in) operating
         activities                                       1,609        (39)
                                                      ---------  ---------

 Cash flows from investing activities:
  Purchases of short-term investments                   (10,980)   (39,145)
  Sales of short-term investments                        27,400     40,145
  Purchases of property and equipment                    (2,549)    (2,808)
  Proceeds from sale of fixed assets                      1,209        (14)
  Acquisition of Realty Generator                          (901)    (9,225)
  Investment in ActiveRain                                    -     (2,750)
                                                      ---------  ---------
        Net cash provided by (used in) investing
         activities                                      14,179    (13,797)
                                                      ---------  ---------

 Cash flows from financing activities:
  Purchase and retirement of common stock                (2,008)      (968)
  Payment of principal on note payable                   (1,590)         -
  Proceeds from exercises of stock options and
   warrants                                                 260        795
  Payment of taxes due upon vesting of restricted
   stock                                                   (232)         -
  Excess tax benefit from exercises of stock options          -         83
                                                      ---------  ---------
        Net cash used in financing activities            (3,570)       (90)
                                                      ---------  ---------

        Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash
         equivalents                                     12,218    (13,926)

 Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period        35,450     49,376

                                                      ---------  ---------
 Cash and cash equivalents at end of period           $  47,668  $  35,450
                                                      =========  =========

Contact Information

  • Investor Contact:
    Mark Lamb
    Director of Investor Relations
    Market Leader Inc.
    425.952.5801
    markl@marketleader.com

    Press Contact:
    Hugh Siler
    Siler & Company for Market Leader Inc.
    949.646.6966
    hugh@silerpr.com