, which became the nation's second-largest newspaper publisher after it acquired Knight-Ridder last year, posted a fourth-quarter loss due to its sale of the
newspaper to a private equity group.
The media conglomerate recorded a loss for the quarter of $279.3 million, or $3.41 a share, compared with a net profit of $45.4 million, or 97 cents a share, for the year-ago period.
The results from the latest quarter included a loss from discontinued operations of $354.8 million, or $4.33 a share, that stemmed from a $363 million after-tax writedown of the net assets of the
to the agreed-upon selling price.
For its continuing operations, McClatchy reported a profit of $75.5 million, or 92 cents a share, up from the $34.1 million, or 73 cents a share, it logged for the fourth quarter of 2005. That beat Wall Street's expectations for a profit of 85 cents a share, according to consensus estimates reported by Thomson First Call.
Thanks to the acquisition of Knight-Ridder, completed last June, McClatchy's revenue from continuing operations more than doubled for the quarter to $673.6 million, up from last year's $210.3 million. On a pro forma basis, the company's quarterly revenue declined 3.4% to $630.7 million, with advertising and circulation revenue both down 3.1%.
"The overall advertising environment grew more difficult in the fourth quarter. Retail advertising softened and national and classified continued to decline," said McClatchy in a press release.
"The increases we had been reporting in real estate advertising, which had helped offset the declines in employment and automotive classified advertising, declined along with the slowdown in the real estate market," the company continued. "However, online and direct marketing revenues continued to show strength, and their growth helped offset some of the weakness in classified and national advertising."
For 2007, McClatchy reiterated its expectations for declining ad revenue in the first half of the year.
"We don't have enough visibility right now to project revenue trends in the second half of 2007 with any confidence, but we do have confidence in our proven ability to adapt and innovate to meet challenging conditions and be an industry leader in performance," McClatchy said.