Post Watch: Post Company Stocks Take a Pounding

By: Harry Jaffe

Though more than half of the Washington Post Company’s revenues now come from its fast-growing Kaplan education division, its stock is still getting pounded along with that of other media companies.

In August 2007, Post Company stock hit $839 a share, but it was down to $559 this summer. Now it’s hovering at around $500, a 40-percent drop from 14 months ago.

“If it didn’t own the Washington Post, it probably would be down less than half of that,” says John Morton, a newspaper business analyst.

The S&P 500 is down 15 percent over the same period.

“It’s a marketwide thing,” a New York media-stock analyst says. “You have to look at all the newspaper companies.”

New York Times Company stock value has tumbled 33 percent in the past year, down to $14 a share. Gannett stock hit $46 last October and is hovering at about $17 this fall.

Even with Kaplan leading the Post Company’s growth, until the newspaper and its Web site figure out how to become more profitable, the company’s stock is likely to tread water.

This article first appeared in the October 2008 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here

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