Knight Ridder 1Q Profit Up, on Best Ad Quarter Since 2000

By: (AP) Knight Ridder Inc., the second-largest newspaper publisher in the country, reported Friday that its first-quarter earnings rose 8% on solid advertising revenue.

Quarterly income was $60.5 million, or 79 cents a share, up from $55.9 million, or 70 cents a share, for the same period last year.

Revenue rose 1.7% to $724.7 million from $712.3 million. Total advertising revenue climbed 3.3% to $566.1 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected the company to earn 71 cents a share on sales of $732.3 million.

Knight Ridder said results for the latest period include a reduction in tax expense of $7.3 million.

Knight Ridder's shares fell 56 cents, or nearly 1%, to $65.91 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company said advertising revenue experienced its best quarter since 2000. Retail ad revenue rose 3.1%, national ad revenue was up 1.9%, and classified ad revenue increased 4.3%, but was hurt by the shift of the Easter holiday to March from April. Employment advertising jumped 16.5% and real estate rose 3.8%. Auto revenue fell 6.1%.

Circulation revenue dropped 3.6% as a result of increased discounting and decreased volume. Copies fell 2.6% daily and 2.4% Sunday.

Knight Ridder Digital revenue rose 52.8% to $12.7 million. CareerBuilder network revenue soared 88% to $107.1 million, with unique visitors up 34% for the quarter.


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