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article imageNew York Times to sell 16 regional newspapers for $143 million

By Leigh Goessl     Dec 28, 2011 in Business
The New York Times Co. said it plans to sell its Regional Media Group to Halifax Media Holdings LLC.
This division consists of 16 regional newspapers, other print publications and related businesses in the U.S.
The sale is expected to garner $143 million cash.
According to a Dec. 27 press release issued by the New York Times Co., the deal is expected to be finalized within the next few weeks. The Times said the company will receive an after-tax gain during the first quarter of 2012 and will use the sale proceeds for "general corporate purposes."
After-tax gain will net the company at about $150 million.
“These news organizations have served as trusted institutions in their communities, delivering news and information that matter most to their readers,” said Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company.
“The sale of our Regional Media Group will enable The New York Times Company to continue our transformation to a digitally-focused, multiplatform media company.”
Bloomberg's Business Week reported this sale comes at a time of struggle, the last seven years have been plagued with declined advertising revenue and falling circulations.
This sale also comes at a time when New York Times. Co., CEO Janet Robinson made an abrupt decision to retire at the close of 2011; chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. will serve as CEO in the interim.
About the acquisition, Halifax Media CEO Michael Redding said, "The purchase of the Regional Media Group reflects Halifax Media’s belief that a good newspaper is an essential part of any vibrant community. The strong local news coverage these papers provide represents not only an important community service, but, in our eyes, a good investment.”
Redding said Halifax is excited to acquire Regional Media Group and has been "impressed" with the reputations of these regional newspapers and the markets served by these publications.
Reuters reported Morningstar's Joscelyn Mackay, said the newspapers have impacted the Times Co. due to "heavier reliance" on the local advertising.
"Without these [regional] papers, the firm will be able to focus on its flagship The New York Times and monetize its digital content," she said.
There are 16 regional newspapers which are a part of the Regional Media Group:
Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Fla., The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif., Star-News in Wilmington, N.C., Herald-Journal in Spartanburg, S.C., Star-Banner in Ocala, Fla., The Gainesville Sun in Gainesville, Fla., The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Ala., The Gadsden Times in Gadsden, Ala., The Courier in Houma, La., Times-News in Hendersonville, N.C., Daily Comet in Thibodaux, La., The Dispatch in Lexington, N.C., Petaluma Argus-Courier in Petaluma, Calif., News Chief in Winter Haven, Fla., and North Bay Business Journal in Santa Rosa, Calif.
In news last week, Digital Journal reported Chicago's No. 2 newspaper, The Sun-Times, was sold to a group of local investors.
More about New York Times, regional newspapers, Halifax Media Holdings, newspaper sale, Regional Media Group
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