UPDATE 2-Washington Post Q3 profit jumps; warns on Kaplan

Fri Nov 5, 2010 10:59am EDT

* Q3 EPS $9.12 vs $2.76 yr ago

* Q3 rev up 7 pct to $1.19 bln

* Print ad rev at flagship newspaper up 3 pct

* Warns Kaplan may be required to limit offerings

* Shares up $4.70 at $388.60 (Adds more details, share price)

NEW YORK, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Washington Post Co WPO.N said on Friday that quarterly profit jumped more than tripled but reiterated a warning that government regulations could adversely affect its education business, the source of more than 60 percent of the company's revenue.

Specifically the company cited enacted and pending government regulations involving for-profit schools that it said could have a "material adverse effect" on its Kaplan higher education business.

Washington Post Co had warned in August that proposed rule changes by the U.S. Department of Education could affect its education results, sending shares down about 10 percent. Washington Post shares are down about 24 percent in the last six months.

On Friday, shares were up 1.2 percent.

For-profit colleges, facing criticism for saddling students with debt and not fully preparing them for jobs, are overhauling their enrollment practices to comply with new rules due to take effect mid-next year.

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The company has already taken steps to address some of these issues and introduced a free shopping period for students attending its Kaplan schools in September and changed incentives for its recruiters.

Had the free-trial program been in place since the beginning of 2010, the company said, it would have lost an estimated $100 million in Kaplan Higher Education revenue for the first nine months of the year.

Student enrollment growth at Kaplan slowed to 8 percent, from 28 percent rise a year earlier.

Quarterly revenue at Washington Post's education division came in at $743.3 million, up 9 percent from a year ago.

The company, which sold its Newsweek magazine to stereo magnate Sidney Harman for a token cash price of $1, said print advertising revenue at its Washington Post newspaper rose 3 percent in the September quarter.

The company narrowed its operating loss at the newspaper division to $1.7 million from a loss of $23.6 million in the year-ago period.

Online newspaper publishing revenue, generated mainly by washingtonpost.com and Slate, rose 21 percent to $27.2 million for the quarter.

Total company revenue rose 7 percent to $1.19 billion.

For the third quarter, the company's earnings from continuing operations was $81.2 million, or $9.12 per share, compared with $25.9 million, or $2.76 per share, in the year-ago period.

The number of shares outstanding in the quarter fell by about half a million.

The results includes a goodwill charge and unrealized foreign currency gains.

Few analysts offered estimates on the company, making an average expectation difficult to calculate.

The company's shares were up 1.2 percent at $388.61 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange. They traded as high as $547 in April. (Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York and Jennifer Robin Raj in Bangalore; Editing by Unnikrishnan Nair and Steve Orlofsky)

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