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Earnings fall 85 percent at Washington Post Co.

WASHINGTON — The Washington Post Co. reported an 85 percent drop in earnings, although profits from continuing operations fell by 55 percent while revenue inched up slightly.

The company reported strong operating profits for its television broadcasting and cable divisions. But its Kaplan education unit lost money and its flagship newspaper continued to suffer steady and substantial declines in its circulation and print advertising.

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The company earned net income of $4.7 million, or 64 cents a share, for the first quarter, down from $31 million, or $4.07 a share, a year earlier. Revenue edged up to $959.1 million, from $955.5 million in the first quarter of 2012. The results were skewed by one-time items including first quarter charges of $25.3 million for early retirement, severance, and restructuring at the newspaper and education divisions and $4.6 million in foreign currency losses.

At the newspaper division, print advertising revenue fell 8 percent to $48.6 million.

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