Washington Post's Profit Surges

| About: Graham Holdings (GHC)

The Washington Post Company (WPO) recently posted that third-quarter earnings, excluding one-time items, jumped to $9.12 per share from $2.76 cents in the prior-year quarter. Earnings were well above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $7.07 per share.

Revenue for the quarter rose 7.3% year over year to $1,189.7 million, driven by revenue growth at the Education, Television Broadcasting and Newspaper divisions which were partially offset by marginal declines at the cable television division.

The Education division delivered a strong performance; revenue was up 8.6% to $743.3 million, which we think will continue in fiscal 2010. At the end of the quarter, enrollment totaled 112,141, up 8%.

Television Broadcasting revenue soared 28.8% to $83.2 million due to improvement in advertising demand in a majority of the markets, including Olympics-related advertising and political advertising revenue.

The Cable division reported flat revenues year-over-year with a marginal decline of 0.5% to $188.7 million.

The Newspaper Publishing division revenue grew 5% to $163.4 million, driven by a 3% expansion in print advertising revenue. Revenue from newspaper’s online publishing activities, principally washingtonpost.com and Slate, rose 21%, whereas display online advertising revenue soared 26%. However, online classified advertising revenue on washingtonpost.com tumbled 6%.

The Net Interest expense for the quarter increased 1.3% year-over-year to $7.6 million from $7.5 million in the prior-year period. At the end of the quarter, Washington Post had $399.5 in borrowings with average interest rate of 7.2%.

During the third quarter, the company divested its Newsweek, therefore the quarterly results exclude the magazine publishing division.