U.S. Markets closed

John Wiley 3Q earns jump; revenue is nearly flat

HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) -- The publisher John Wiley & Sons Inc.'s net income jumped in the fiscal third quarter despite flat sales. Its results a year earlier had been depressed by a charge related to the bankruptcy of Borders Group Inc.

The publisher of educational books and how-to guides says it is reshuffling its portfolio of brands as it shifts its focus toward professional and corporate customers.

Wiley, based in Hoboken, N.J., said Thursday that its net income in the quarter ended Jan. 31 rose to $62.9 million, or $1.03 per share, from $45.6 million, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier.

Much of this year's higher profit resulted from a $9.3 million charge that Wiley took in the year-earlier quarter. Book retailer Borders had filed for bankruptcy protection, making it unlikely to repay money that it owed to Wiley.

The company's revenue edged up to $451 million from $448 million a year ago. Revenue increased from its scientific, technical, medical and scholarly division and its global education division. Revenue from its professional and trade division declined, Wiley said, because of sales that were lost when Borders went dark.

Excluding certain one-time items such as a tax benefit, Wiley said it earned 91 cents per share. That's short of the 94 cents projected by analysts in a FactSet survey.

The company had said Wednesday that it plans to sell off several high-profile brands that do not support its long-term strategy. The brands include Frommer's travel guides, Webster's New World and CliffsNotes. They generated $85 million of revenue in the fiscal year ended April 30.

President and CEO Stephen Smith said that Wiley plans to reinvest the proceeds in its professional and trade business and the "For Dummies" brand.

Last month, Wiley acquired Inscape Holdings, a workplace e-learning company, for $85 million in cash.

Smith said the acquisition and the asset sales will help its professional and trade division focus on "professionals and lifelong learners."

Wiley repurchased 520,000 shares during the quarter for $23 million. Its management is authorized to buy back another 2.9 million shares, which tends to .support the prices of the remaining shares.

The company affirmed its full-year revenue guidance of low single-digit growth, excluding the effects of foreign currency exchange. It expects to earn $3.15 to $3.20 per share, including foreign currency exchange but excluding certain tax benefits. Wall Street expects adjusted earnings of $3.12 per share, according to a FactSet survey.

Wiley publishes scientific, technical, medical and scholarly journals; reference books; professional/trade books; training materials; and educational texts.

Wiley shares rose 70 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $45.11 in morning trading Thursday. Its shares have traded in a 52-week range of $41.89 to $53.04.