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Falling revenue for Dolan Co.’s media division

Minneapolis-based The Dolan Company — which owns Finance & Commerce, Politics in Minnesota, and Minnesota Lawyer locally — reported a 2.3 percent drop in 2010 Businss Information division revenue Wednesday.

Minneapolis-based The Dolan Company — which owns Finance & Commerce, Politics in Minnesota, and Minnesota Lawyer locally — reported a 2.3 percent drop in 2010 Businss Information division revenue Wednesday. Overall, the company’s share price dropped sharply, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal notes

Dolan cast off key editors at Finance & Commerce and Minnesota Lawyer last year. While company officials aren’t talking about the reason, cost-cutting may be a factor: according to a Wednesday statement, direct operating expenses in the division rose 2.7 percent.

Dolan did acquire two properties in 2010 (DataStream and Federal News Service). While a 2.3 percent revenue drop isn’t bad for a company with many print titles, the acquisitions mean existing properties’ revenues likely fell more than that. However, comparable expense hikes would drop, too.

Many Dolan titles (though not Politics in Minnesota) exist primarily to sop up public notice ads mandated by government. In its statement, the company cited “weakness” there, contending difficulties are short-term:

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The company believes that a majority of the weakness in public notice is related to delays from large mortgage servicers who are focused on reviewing systems and compliance to ensure proper foreclosure processing as well as a delay in the timing of revenue resulting from legislative changes made in Maryland.

The company, once known as Dolan Media, now has a far larger Professional Services division; sales rose there. Professional Services was twice as big as Business Information in 2009; now, it’s 2.5 times as large. Overall, while fourth-quarter earnings dropped 32 percent, 2010 profit was up $1.6 million to $32.4 million.