Hit by Kaplan Slump, Washington Post Co. 4Q Net Sinks 22%

By Features FOXBusiness

Washington Post Co. (WPO) revealed a 22% slump in fourth-quarter earnings on Friday as the media company suffered a double-digit decline in revenue at its pivotal Kaplan education division.

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The Washington, D.C.-based company said it earned $61.7 million, or $8.03 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $79 million, or $9.42 a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned $8.75 a share.

Revenue fell 10% to $1.06 billion, while operating margins dropped to 10.1% from 12.8%.

Analysts had been calling for EPS of $5.36 on revenue of $1.04 billion.

Washington Post Co., which recently had its credit ratings downgraded by a pair of credit companies, said its education unit was hit by a 14% drop-off in revenue, to $597.7 million, amid slumping enrollment.

Earnings at Kaplan plunged to $32.3 million from $66.2 million last quarter and student enrollments were off 23% compared with the same period a year earlier.

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Meanwhile, the company said its cable television revenue slipped to $190.8 million last quarter from $191.3 million the year before, while newspaper publishing sales dropped 4% to $188.4 million. Print ad sales at The Washington Post fell 6% in the fourth quarter to $77.1 million.

Shares of Washington Post Co. were inactive ahead of the open. They have gained just 3% so far this year, trailing the broader markets.