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EDGAR Ties the Knot with the SEC

How many companies could say the Securities & Exchange Commission was their friend? EDGAR Online (EDGR) certainly can. EDGAR (electronic data gathering, analysis, and retrieval) is tops in the business of getting information filed with the SEC off the Net quickly. Here's the scoop: In about a week, the SEC will start referring anyone seeking SEC documents to EDGAR. The SEC has signed a contract for EDGAR to provide such info free of charge. But for more detailed data, there's a fee. "This new situation will double our traffic and ultimately our revenues," says EDGAR Chairman Marc Strausberg. EDGAR has 800,000 registered users. Of those, 20,000 individuals and professionals already pay $20 a month for specialized services, and 660 corporations fork over an average $2,400 a month. EDGAR's biggest client: Nasdaq, which pays $5 million a year. Reuters, which owns 4% of EDGAR, pays $1 million a year.

Michael Smith of Fahnestock, who rates EDGAR a buy, says it has done a good job of moving toward profitability. EDGAR posted a 100% jump in third-quarter revenues. He sees a slight loss or breakeven this year and earnings of 13 cents a share in 2002. Smith sees EDGAR, now at 2.69 a share, doubling in 12 months. Down the road, he says, EDGAR might be acquired by a large media or information outfit. By Gene G. Marcial

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