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The New York Times Company ( ) is an Americanmarker media company best known as the publisher of its namesake, The New York Times. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. has served as Chairman of the Board since 1997. It is headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York Citymarker.

Overview

History

The company was founded by Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones in New York, New Yorkmarker. The first edition of the newspaper The New York Times, published on September 18, 1851, stated: "We publish today the first issue of the New-York Daily Times, and we intend to issue it every morning (Sundays excepted) for an indefinite number of years to come."

Company holdings

The New York Times Company also owns The Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune, and almost two dozen other regional newspapers in the United States (15 of which publish daily). In 2005, its Broadcast Media Group included 35 web sites, including NYTimes.com, Boston.com and About.com.

In addition, it is a minority stakeholder in the Boston Red Sox, a position acquired as part of John W. Henry's purchase of the famed baseball team. The Boston Globe and other New York Times Company-owned newspapers acknowledge this relationship in articles about the team.

Company stock profile

Since 1967, The New York Times Company has been publicly traded and listed on the New York Stock Exchangemarker by the symbol NYT. While the company offers two kinds of shares of its stock, Class A and Class B, Class B shares are not publicly traded. The Class B shares provide a mechanism by which the descendants of Adolph Ochs, who purchased the New York Times newspaper in 1896, maintain control of the company by holding nearly 90 percent of this "special class of stock."

Board of Directors

At the April 2005 Board meeting, Class B shareholders elected nine of the fourteen directors of the company.

2008-2009 financial challenges

The company's dual-class ownership structure has deterred outside investors from pushing for change in Ochs-Sulzberger control. Two hedge funds, Harbinger Capital and Firebrand Partners bought 19 percent of The Times. On September 10, 2008, it was reported that Carlos Slim, one of the world's wealthiest men, had acquired a 6.4 percent stake for $120 million. These moves put pressure on the company, whose advertising and circulation have faltered recently, to improve its return to shareholders. The downturn in print advertising sales has recently spread to the Internet, and the recent acquisitions of Times Company stock might put increasing pressure on the family to sell or take the company private to escape Wall Streetmarker's attention. The newspaper is currently over one billion dollars in debt.

In December, 2008, the Times Co. said it planned to borrow up to $225 million against its new building, in which it has a 58 percent stake. The company retained Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate firm, to act as its agent to secure financing, either in the form of a mortgage or a sale-leaseback arrangement, said James Follo, the Times Company's chief financial officer. The developer Forest City Ratner owns the rest of the building. In March, 2009, a 15-year sale-leaseback for $225 million with WP Carey & Co. on the Times' share of the building was announced. The NYT Co. will have the right to buy back its part of the building, covered under the arrangement, for $250 million in 10 years, and will pay rent in the interem. The NYT Co. paid more than $600 million for its share of the building, in 2007. Both parties to the sale-leaseback expect the Co. to repurchase its space. Carey CEO Gordon DuGan said "We’re willing to trade a low purchase price and good yield for future appreciation," in a Bloomberg report. "Basically it’s a secured loan," said Craig Evans, a broker with Colliers ABR Inc., a New York-based real estate services firm (affiliate of Colliers International), in the report. "It’s a way for them to borrow significant amounts of money against the value of their offices. And they’re paying a pretty significant price to do that."

On January 19, 2009, the Times Co. announced that it had accepted a $250 million loan from Slim. Slim will receive a 14 percent interest rate and warrants that are convertible into Times Company shares on the loan. He has lost tens of millions on his original equity investment. Under the new financial arrangement, the equity stake could grow to 17 percent, though he will receive no representation on the company’s board and no shares with special voting rights. Bankers representing The Times approached Mr. Slim with the investment opportunity, Slim advisers say. Those bankers, at the firm SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, had first approached The Times with the idea of a deal with Mr. Slim, said a Times spokeswoman, Catherine Mathis. The loan will help ease the company's immediate cash flow problems, which have been reported to include a $400 million credit-line maturity in May. The notes have a six year maturity. The company's continuing financial problems and Slim's ongoing interest, as evidenced by his two interventions in the course of five months, has led to speculation that he might be contemplating an outright takeover of the Times Company.

On January 28, 2009, as the Times Co. reported its earnings plunged 48 percent in the fourth quarter because of lower advertising revenue in a weak economy, he also said it "had retained investment firm Goldman Sachs to help explore a sale of its stake in the company that owns the Boston Red Sox. Investors have been pressuring the company to sell assets .... The company holds a 17.8 percent stake in New England Sports Ventures, which owns the Boston baseball team as well as Fenway Parkmarker, a portion of a cable sports network and other properties. The Times reported in December that its parent company was exploring a sale."

On January 28, 2009, The New York Times itself ran an op-ed piece by David Swensen, the author of Pioneering Portfolio Management and chief investment officer at Yalemarker, and Michael Schmidt, a financial analyst at Yale, entitled "News You Can Endow." The column took note of the challenging financial circumstances of the nation's newspapers, and proposed "another option: Turn them into nonprofit, endowed institutions — like colleges and universities." In the face of the impact of digital, Internet distribution of news, the change would "free [newspapers] from the strictures of an obsolete business model and offer them a permanent place in society." Steve Coll of The New Yorker and, previously, the Washington Post, responded to the idea, as did the Post's Howard Kurtz and, in opposition, Slate's Jack Shafer.

On February 19, 2009, The NYT Co. suspended its common share dividends (both classes of stock) completely, having already cut it by 74% to 6 cents per share in November, 2008. It was the first elimination of the dividend in four decades as a publicly traded company, and saved an additional $34 million per year. The NYT Co. laid off 100 employees on March 26, 2009 and cut salaries for the rest of 2009 by 5 percent.

Put aside logic/suicide watch

On May 9, 2009, both op-ed columnists Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich addressed issues of the ill-health of the newspaper industry (or the "news business", as Rich called it, though still addressing newspapers under the grimmer headline). Rich also may have identified the reason for the coinciding focus: the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner "this weekend."

Dowd addressed President Barack Obama's possible feelings for the newspaper industry, and some considerations relative to possible government assistance to the industry. She reported that candidate Obama had told her that he'd briefly and none too successfully tried to sell subscriptions to the Times when he was a student at Columbia. An aide had also told her that candidate Obama "got cranky" when he didn't have a chance to read at least a bit of the Times daily, and she reported that "it was clear from his very first news conference, when I began covering his long-shot bid for the White House" that his "supple mind was nourished by news and books." In the column, Dowd also reflected, as others have, on parallels between President Obama and the character of Spock, on this the (successful) opening weekend of the new Star Trek movie. She referenced his opposition in these terms – "Cheney, Limbaugh and other pitiless Borg aliens firing phasers" – and hearings the previous week held by Sen. John Kerry, D-MAmarker, and addressed, to a degree, the logic and morality of government aid to the newspaper industry.

The Kerry hearings on May 6 had addressed among other ideas a bill proposed by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Mdmarker, in which "newspapers turning to nonprofit status would no longer be able to make political endorsements but could report on all issues including political campaigns. Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax-exempt and contributions to support coverage could be tax deductible. The proposal would allow papers to operate under the same Internal Revenue Service status that is utilized by churches, hospitals, educational institutions, public broadcasting and other nonprofit institutions, said Cardin. Cardin has said that his aim is to preserve local papers, not large newspaper conglomerates. And he said his bill does not constitute a government bailout for papers." Testimony at the hearing was heard from Steve Coll, former Baltimore Sun reporter and TV series writer/producer David Simon, and Huffington Post's founder Arianna Huffington. Other coverage of the hearings was in the Los Angeles Times, the Seattle Times and The Guardian.

Dowd opened her May 9 column "I dreamed that Spock saved our planet, The Daily Planet of journalism," but closed with "Newspapers no longer know how to live long and prosper. It’s enough to make a Vulcan weep./Kirk out." In the column, she also alluded to the President's mixed-race parentage, saying, "In the [current] Star Trek prequel, Spock’s father tells him, 'You will always be a child of two worlds,' urging him not to keep such a tight vise on his emotions. And Spandexy Old Spock, known as Spock Prime, tells his younger self: 'Put aside logic. Do what feels right.'" "Put aside logic" was the headline for the column.

For his part, under the grim "suicide watch" headline, Rich started by looking back at Steve Colbert's appearance at the correspondents' association gala in 2006, as the possible beginning of the watch. He looked extensively at changes in media forms going back to Gutenberg, and at current technologies, linking as he does readily, to non-Times sources on the Internet, for example here Clay Shirkey, "one of the freshest commentators on Internet culture". He was firmer about government help -- "certainly not ..., with all [government's] conflicted interests" — but still threw out the plea: "someone ... must pay for this content and make every effort to police its fairness and accuracy." As with other recent commentators, the migration to "pay" TV via cable/satellite seemed one moderately hopeful historical analog for Rich to look to, after the dramatic migration to "free" Internet distribution seems so to have hurt the papers. A nod was also paid to "NPR-style donations, iTunes-style micropayments, [and] foundation grants" as other alternative sources of revenue to sustain the business.

Possible Globe sale

In June, 2009, The Times reported, via a document apparently leaked to the reporter by the Company's investment bank Goldman Sachs, that the Boston Globe and its Boston.com website were being offered for sale. The sale offering possibly would also included the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, which shares some production capacity with the Globe and is also a part of The Times' New England Media Group subsidiary. Anonymous sources were cited as having said that individuals considering the acquisition of the Globe included Jack Connors, the former chief of an advertising agency Hill Holliday who now heads a regional network of hospitals and clinics; Stephen Pagliuca, a managing director of Bain Capital Partners and one of the owners of the Boston Celtics; and Stephen E. Taylor, a former Globe executive whose family owned the paper before selling it to the Times Co. in 1993.

Chronology

January 1, 2003 – The company completed its purchase of The Washington Post s 50 percent interest in the International Herald Tribune for $65 million.The Times Company, which had owned 50 percent of the IHT, became the sole owner.

March 18, 2005 – The company acquired About.com, a leading online provider of consumer information for $410 million. In 2005 the company reported financial revenues of $3.4 billion to its investors.

On August 25, 2006 – The company acquired Baseline StudioSystems, a leading online database and research service for information on the film and television industries for $35 million.

September 12, 2006 – The company announced its decision to sell its Broadcast Media Group, consisting of "nine network-affiliated television stations, their related Web sites and the digital operating center," in a press release.

January 4, 2007 – The New York Times reported that The New York Times Company had reached an agreement to sell all nine local television stations to the private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners.

May 7, 2007 – The company announced in a press release of May 17, 2007, that it had finalized the sale of its Broadcast Media Group on May 7, 2007, for "approximately $575 million."

November 19, 2007 – The company staged a gala opening after relocating its headquarters from its previous address, at 229 West 43rd Street, to The New York Times Buildingmarker, at 620 Eighth Avenue, New York Citymarker, on the west side of Times Square, between 40th and 41st Street across from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Bus Terminalmarker.

July 14, 2009 - The company announced that WQXR was to be sold to WNYCmarker, who on October 8, 2009 moved the station to 105.9 FM and began to operate the station as a non-commercial. This $45 million transaction, which would involve Univision Radio's WCAA moving to the 96.3 FM frequency from 105.9 FM, signaled the end of the Times' 65-year ownership of the station.

Community awards

The company sponsors a series of national and local awards designed to highlight the achievements of individuals and organizations in different realms. In 2007 it inaugurated its first Nonprofit Excellence Award, awarded to four organizations "for the excellence of their management practices". Only nonprofits in New York Citymarker, Long Islandmarker or Westchestermarker were eligible. Jointly with the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the American Library Association, the New York Times Company sponsors an award to honor librarians "for service to their communities." The I Love My Librarian! award was given to ten recipients in December 2008, and presented by New York Times Company president and CEO Janet L. Robinson, Carnegie Corporation president Vartan Gregorian and Jim Rettig, president of the American Library Association.

See also



Notes

External links

Papers
NYT Company
Baseline



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