New York Times Co. looks for buyer for Boston Globe
New York Times Co. is formally exploring a sale of the Boston Globe, its only remaining business outside the core New York Times media brand.
The publisher is working with Evercore Partners Inc. as an adviser for a sale, Times Co. said yesterday in a statement. The company intends to focus its strategy and investment on the Times brand.
Times Co., controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family, is coping with a difficult advertising market as spending on national campaigns continues to shrink industrywide. The publisher has sold other assets unrelated to the Times brand, getting rid of regional newspapers and About.com within the past 13 months.
The company held $955 million in cash and short-term investments at the end of last year, largely as a result of its asset sales. In addition to the Boston Globe, the company still owns the International Herald Tribune, considered the European edition of the New York Times.
Times Co. shares pared earlier losses in New York trading after Bloomberg News first reported on the sale. The shares were down 0.4 percent to $9.03 at the close.
Chairman Arthur Sulzberger, who appointed former head of British Broadcasting Corp. Mark Thompson as chief executive officer in August, has been relying on new revenue sources to increase profits. National advertising dropped 10 percent across all newspapers in the first nine months of last year, according to the Newspaper Association of America.
The Times newspaper now makes more money from readers than advertisers, helped by its online subscription program, which now has more than 640,000 paying customers. The Times made $781 million in circulation sales last year, leaving out an extra week, an 11 percent increase over the previous year. That compares with a 7.4 percent decline in ad revenue to $700 million for the same period.
The Boston Globe, by contrast, still relies primarily on ad dollars. The Globe, which also owns regional newspaper Worcester Telegram & Gazette, reported a 7.8 percent drop in ad revenue last year minus the extra week to $183 million. That compares with a 1.7 percent decline in circulation sales to $155.1 million in the same period.