Post Co. Reports 2007 Profit Down 11%

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Washington Post Co.'s 2007 profit fell 11 percent from 2006, as the continued revenue slide at the company's flagship newspaper offset its highflying education division, Kaplan, the company reported yesterday.

The Post Co. earned $289 million ($30.19 per share) on $4.2 billion in revenue in 2007, compared with a $325 million profit ($33.68) on $3.9 billion in revenue in 2006, the company said.

In the fourth quarter, profit was $83 million ($8.71) on $1.1 billion in revenue, down 13 percent from a profit of $96 million ($9.97) on $1 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Last year's results were affected by a number of one-time charges, the company said.

Kaplan -- which offers college courses and professional education in addition to test preparation -- accounted for 48 percent of The Post Co.'s 2007 revenue, at $2 billion up 21 percent from 2006. Kaplan supplied 31 percent of the company's operating income, at $149 million, up 14 percent from 2006.

As a result, stock compensation bonuses for Kaplan executives, which cost The Post Co. $27.7 million in 2006, cost $41.3 million in 2007. Kaplan's chief executive is Jonathan Grayer.

Post Co. shares fell $2.63 yesterday, to $723.37.

In The Post Co.'s newspaper division, which includes The Post, Express, El Tiempo Latino and several smaller papers, 2007 revenue was $890 million, down 7 percent. Excluding a one-time charge of $47 million for early retirement buyouts incurred in 2006, operating income at the newspaper division in 2007 was down 40 percent from previous year, reflecting the dismal newspaper advertising market.

For 2007, advertising revenue at The Post fell 13 percent. Monday through Saturday circulation in 2007 was 649,700, down 3.6 percent. Sunday circulation averaged 902,500, down 3.7 percent.

Ad revenue at the company's online division, mostly, rose 11 percent in 2007, to $114 million.

The Post Co.'s Cable One division, which has subscribers in the South and Northwest, reported a strong 2007, with an 11 percent rise in revenue, to $626 million. Operating income rose 3 percent, to $124 million.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company