Gannett 4Q Earnings Up Slightly

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Gannett Co., the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, on Friday reported slightly higher earnings in the fourth quarter, due in part to record levels of political advertising on its broadcast outlets.

Gannett reported a fourth-quarter profit of $354 million, or $1.51 per share, up 3 percent compared to $343 million, or $1.44 a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Financial predicted earnings of $1.49 per share in accordance with guidance the company issued last month.

Quarterly revenue increased 7.5 percent, from $2.21 billion to $2.05 billion. But the fourth quarter of 2006 had an extra week compared with 2005 because of a calendar quirk.

Broadcasting revenue increased 30.3 percent to $270.6 million for the quarter, driven by the political ads. The increase gave a substantial boost to the company’s results even though newspaper publishing accounts for the bulk of Gannett’s business.

McLean-based Gannett publishes 90 daily newspapers and operates 23 television stations in the United States.

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