Amazon’s profits sink 44 percent; company cites legal settlement |

Amazon’s profits sink 44 percent; company cites legal settlement

SEATTLE – Internet retailer Inc. said Tuesday that its third-quarter profits fell 44 percent, in large part because of the settlement of a patent-infringement lawsuit.In a report released after the markets closed, the Seattle-based company said its net earnings were $30 million, or 7 cents a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, down from $54 million, or 13 cents a share, a year earlier.Amazon shares slipped 76 cents, or about 1.6 percent, to close at $46.17 Tuesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. After the report was released, its shares sank another $3.44, or 7.5 percent, in after-hours trading. The stock has been trading between $30.60 and $46.97 for the past 52 weeks.The slump in profits came despite a hefty rise in revenue. The company said net sales increased to $1.86 billion in the third quarter, up 27 percent from $1.46 billion last year.Excluding a $40 million legal charge, Amazon said its net income would have been $50 million, or 12 cents per share.In August, Amazon announced it would pay $40 million to Soverain Software LLC to settle a patent-infringement lawsuit. Chicago-based Soverain had alleged that Amazon’s Web site infringed several Soverain patents on network sales systems and Internet server access control and monitoring systems.The consensus forecast of analysts polled by Thomson Financial was for earnings of 10 cents per share on revenue of $1.84 billion.Vail, Colorado

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