Graham Holdings (formerly the Washington Post Company) is a media and education company. It is focused on education, broadcasting, and print and online news magazines. Its largest segment is education, conducted via Kaplan, which includes tutoring and test preparation services. Other operations include a portfolio of five TV stations and online and print publications such as Slate and Foreign Policy. It spun off cable TV systems operator Cable One in 2015. The company was once best known as the publisher of The Washington Post newspaper. Owned by the family of its chairman Donald Graham for 80 years, the flagship newspaper was sold to Internet mogul Jeff Bezos in 2013.
The company operates through three segments: Education, Media, and Other Businesses.
The Education segment (75% of total revenues) operates Kaplan, which provides a wide variety of educational services worldwide. In 2015 Kaplan Test Preparation enrolled more than 360,000 students in its courses, including more than 155,000 in online programs.
The Media segment comprises the ownership and operation of television broadcasting (through the ownership and operation of five television broadcast stations), plus Slate and Foreign Policy magazines.
Other Businesses include two home health and hospice providers, three industrial companies and Social Code LLC, a marketing solutions provider.
Graham Holdings is headquartered in Virginia. Kaplan International operates businesses in Europe and the Asia Pacific region.
Kaplan operates 41 English-language schools. It had 22 in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and 19 in the US.
In the Asia Pacific region Kaplan operates businesses primarily in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and China.
The Graham Media Group owns five television stations in Houston; Detroit; Orlando; San Antonio; and Jacksonville.
Note: In 2014, Graham Holdings’ net revenue has been restated due to the disposition of WPLG, a Miami-based television station and the sale of three of schools in China that were previously part of Kaplan International.
In 2015 the company’s net revenue increased by 6% to $2.59 billion due to a drop in education and advertising revenues.
Education revenue decreased due to declines at Kaplan. Advertising revenue decreased due to a drop in television broadcasting revenue.
In 2015 Graham Holdings posted a net loss of $100.66 million (compared to net income of $1.29 billion in 2014) due to lower net revenue, an increase in goodwill and other long-lived assets impairment charges and equity in losses/earnings of affiliates (related to Celtic joint venture and Residential Home Health Illinois, a 42.5% interest in Residential Hospice Illinois, and interests in several other affiliates).
The company’s operating cash inflows decreased by 80% to $74.80 million in 2015.
Like other newspaper and magazine publishers, Graham Holdings has struggled to manage the long, slow decline of print publications and advertising spending. Bezos is looking to make the paper more customer-focused as the company tries to leverage digital opportunities for growth.
In 2015, the company focused on improving corporate cost structures, both within subsidiaries and at the parent level. That year it agreed to sell Kaplan College, the 38-campus private college division of its Kaplan education business. Kaplan will continue to run its online university, plus eight professional schools.
Graham Holdings spun off Cable One in 2015 to the company’s stockholders. It also sold The Root.com, an on-line magazine focused on news, opinions, culture, and entertainment from the perspective of African Americans, to La Fabrica, a division of Univision Interactive Media.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2015, Graham Media Group agreed to acquire WCWJ, a CW affiliate television station in Jacksonville, Florida and WSLS, an NBC affiliate television station in Roanoke, Virginia for $60 million.
It also acquired Group Dekko, a Garrett, Indiana-based manufacturer of electrical products for applications across three business lines: workspace power solutions, architectural lighting, and electrical components and assemblies. The acquisition is part of Graham Holdings’ ongoing strategy of investing in companies with demonstrated earnings potential and strong management that fits with its decentralized operating philosophy.