There’s an article on Think Progress on the profits of corporations from publicly funded research. Obviously, Elsevier’s earnings had to be mentioned. Note to self: find a summary of overall profits for all major STM publishers, including OA ones.
(…) The system is big business: The largest of the for profit academic publishers, Elsevier, reportedly earned over $1 billion in profits in 2011 with a profit margin around 35 percent and 71 percent of their revenue coming from academic customers like university libraries. (…) We do know that Elsevier, the corporate subsidiary involved with academic publishing, accounted for over 47 percent of Reed Elsevier’s adjusted operating profits in 2011.