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DeVry Inc. (DV), Apollo Group Inc (APOL): New Era for The Washington Post Company (WPO)?

Given the fact that the education unit makes up half of the company’s top line, there is a lot at stake. Kaplan reported operating income of $19.7 million for the first six months of 2013, an improvement from the $8.2 million loss in the first half of 2012, but a drop in the bucket compared to the $330 million it delivered in all of 2010. Amid low demand and campus shutdowns, student enrollment declined 8% year-over-year.

82-year-old global provider of educational services DeVry Inc. (NYSE:DV) wrapped up a rather bumpy fiscal year. For the 12-month period ended June 30, revenues dropped 5.2% to $1.96 billion while adjusted earnings came in at $2.86 a share following a 14.6% downtrend. New undergraduate enrollments at its flagship university took a nearly 25% nosedive for the July 2013 session alone.

Apollo Group Inc (NASDAQ:APOL), the owner of University of Phoenix, is also going down quite a rocky road. During the first nine months of fiscal-year 2013, net revenue plunged as much as 13% on a year-over-year basis, decimated by a 15% drop in average enrollment. Going forward, it expects to end the year with net revenue of $3.65 – $3.70 billion, notably lower than the $4.3 billion it racked up the prior year.

Kaplan, as well as the others, are implementing restructuring plans trying to combat losses and regain students’ trust. But, this sector’s public image is still quite marred, and renewed competition from nonprofit and state colleges, on top of tough regulations, is not helping, at all.

Final thoughts

As an imaginative entrepreneur and a long-term thinker, Bezos has a keen eye for business opportunities, sometimes hidden in the most controversial markets, and the stomach for potential pitfalls. It took Bezos seven years to make Amazon profitable, something that, back in 2001, seemed to be nothing but wishful thinking. Earlier this year, he invested in news website Business Insider. Apparently, he sees something in content. No matter what the outcome may be, at least he’ll get the chance to experiment.

For The Washington Post Company (NYSE:WPO), which will get a new name, shedding its newspaper assets is a weight off its shoulders. Not just that, but also the Grahams may use the extra cash to continue diversifying their portfolio and setting foot into new markets. Late last year, they bought a health care company and, just last month, a furnaces manufacturer – a move I couldn’t really understand. Now, it makes more sense.

The article A New Era for The Washington Post Company? originally appeared on and is written by Fani Kelesidou.

Fani Kelesidou has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

Fani is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network — entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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