With soft sales in its traditional book business, revenue at John Wiley & Sons fell 1% in the third quarter ended January 31, 2019, compared to the third period a year ago. Revenue was $449.4 million, down from $455.7 million in last year’s third quarter. Without the impact of foreign exchange, sales were up 1%. Operating income fell 23% in the quarter, to $50.3 million.
In prepared remarks, Wiley CEO Brian Napack said: "Growth was evident across the portfolio except for our traditional book businesses, which weighed heavily on results. We are confident the plans we already have in motion will help mitigate this pressure in books and continue the overall progress that we are making.”
Highlights of the of the quarter were a 43% increase in sales in Wiley's Open Access publishing program in its research group, as well as the completion of the purchase of the Learning House acquisition in its solutions division.
In the Wiley publishing segment, the company reported that educational publishing revenue dropped 23% compared to last year’s third quarter, while STM and professional publishing revenue fell 20%, which offset growth in test preparation and certification and WileyPLUS, where sales rose 23% and 7%, respectively. Overall, publishing revenue was down 14% in the quarter, to $145.6 million.
Led by gains in Open Access revenue, which rose to $14.2 million, revenue in the research group increased 1%, to $226.3 million, with journal subscriptions still the biggest segment in the group—though sales in the quarter fell 5%, to $152.3 million. Revenue in the solutions division increased 25% over the third quarter of fiscal 2018, to $77.4 million, led by a 43% gain in education services.
For the first nine months of fiscal 2019, total revenue at Wiley was down 1%, to $1.31 billion, compared to the first nine months of fiscal 2018, and operating income declined 9%, to $144 million. For all of fiscal 2019, Wiley still expects revenue to be about $1.80 billion, even considering fiscal 2018, with earnings per share expected to post a mid-single digit decline.