Post Co.'s Quarterly Profit Falls, but Revenue Rises

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Washington Post Co. said yesterday that its fourth-quarter profit was down 7 percent, to $95.5 million from $102.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2005, despite a 10 percent gain in revenue.

The company had a profit of $324.5 million ($33.68 a share) on $3.9 billion in revenue in 2006, up from $314.3 million ($32.59) on $3.55 billion in revenue in 2005.

Revenue at The Post Co.'s Kaplan education division continued to surge -- it rose 19 percent for the year, to $1.68 billion, outpacing all other Post Co. business units. Yearly revenue was up 11 percent at the company's Cable One business, 9 percent at its six television stations and 1 percent at its newspaper division. Revenue was down 4 percent at its magazine division, which includes Newsweek.

The company does not break out profit for its divisions.

The Post Co. attributed the fourth-quarter slump to several one-time expenses, including early retirement buyouts for about 170 Post employees, $14 million worth of stock compensation for Kaplan executives and $13 million for settling part of a class-action lawsuit in which Kaplan was accused of colluding with BAR/BRI, a bar-exam prep company. It also suffered from an ongoing decline in advertising revenue at its newspaper division, which includes The Post and other smaller papers.

Advertising at The Washington Post was down 8 percent in the fourth quarter and 4 percent for the year, to $573.2 million. Online advertising -- primarily at -- was up 28 percent, to $102.7 million, for the year, breaking the $100 million mark for the first time.

Daily circulation at The Post for 2006 was down 2.9 percent, to 673,900, and Sunday circulation was down 3.2 percent, to 937,700. The numbers represent an improvement from 2005's declines, when daily and Sunday circulations each dropped more than 4 percent from 2004.

Post Co. stock closed down $3.24 a share yesterday, at $766.

Elsewhere in the industry yesterday, Cincinnati's E.W. Scripps warned that its first-quarter and full-year earnings would decline, owing to ongoing advertising declines. The news sent Scripps stock down more than 3 percent, to close at $45.31 per share.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company