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Washington Post profit plunges 85 percent on weak news, education revenues

A general view of the exterior of The Washington Post Company headquarters in Washington, March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
A general view of the exterior of The Washington Post Company headquarters in Washington, March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

(Reuters) - Washington Post Co reported an 85 percent drop in first-quarter net income on Friday on weakness in its education and newspaper businesses.

Stronger results from the television and cable operations, however, helped the company squeeze out a 0.4 percent rise in total revenue to $959.1 million.

The first-quarter earnings indicated that its namesake newspaper can't shake the problems clinging to the sector, mainly a drain in advertising revenue and the loss of readers, who are reading news elsewhere.

Total revenue at the newspaper division dropped 4 percent to $127.3 million because of lower ad sales at its print edition. It reported an operating loss of $34.5 million mainly due to severance costs.

At its education division known as Kaplan, revenue fell 3 percent to $527.8 million.

Net income for the quarter was $4.7 million, or 64 cents per share, compared with $31 million, or $4.07 per share in the same quarter last year.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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