The negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic led to a 2% decline in fourth-quarter revenue at John Wiley & Sons for the period ended April 30, 2020, compared to fiscal 2019. Sales were $474.6 million, down from $491.2 million. Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) fell 23% to $92.8 million. Wiley attributed the fourth quarter revenue dip to soft sales of print books due to store closings, test prep programs, and corporate training.
Despite the fourth quarter declines, revenue for the full year rose 2% over fiscal 2019, hitting $1.83 billion. Adjusted EBITDA fell 8%, to $355.8 million.
The company reported an operating loss of $54.3 million in fiscal 2020 compared to earnings of $224 million in fiscal 2019. Results in 2020 contained a number of one-time charges that lowered earnings. Wiley took a charge of $202.3 million that included a goodwill charge of $110 million tied to previous acquisitions in its education services segment and an $89.5 million charge reflecting Wiley’s decision to limit the use of the Blackwell name, which it acquired in 2007, in favor of emphasizing the Wiley brand. The company’s revenue performance was affected by a number of acquisitions in fiscal 2020, which include mthree (which added $13 million in sales), Zyante, and the assets of Knewton, Inc.
In prepared comments, Wiley CEO Brian Napack said that given the continued uncertainty of the path of the coronavirus, the company was unable to provide financial guidance for fiscal 2021. "Over the near-term, our performance is substantially dependent upon the duration of the shutdown,” Napack said. “We will restore annual guidance when visibility returns."