Washington Post quarterly profit falls

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NEW YORK -- Washington Post Co. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit fell 7%, dragged down by charges and a profit decline at its newspaper division.

Fourth-quarter net income fell to $95.5 million, or $9.97 a share, compared with $102.4 million, or $10.65 a share, in the fourth quarter a year earlier.

Revenue rose 10% to $1.04 billion.

Analysts, on average, had been expecting earnings of $10.67 a share excluding special items on revenue of $1.04 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

After-tax charges included 94 cents per share for a writedown and 86 cents a share related to an agreement to settle a lawsuit against Kaplan, the Post's educational software and services division.

It also recorded a $43.2 million non-operating gain on the same of its stake in BrassRing LLC.

The Post's educational division revenue was up 18% in the quarter, while print advertising revenue at The Washington Post newspaper fell 8%.

Classified, national and zoned advertising all fell in the quarter.

For the year, the Post's daily circulation fell 2.9%, and Sunday circulation fell 3.2%.

The results reflect trends affecting most U.S. newspapers, which are losing readers and advertising dollars to various other media, including the Internet.

The Post meanwhile continued to build its Internet presence at its Web site. Online ad revenue for the washingtonpost.com Web site rose 22% during the quarter.
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