New York Times Continues Free Fall

By:  Bob Adelmann
12/29/2011
       
New York Times Continues Free Fall

With the latest announcement of its sale of 16 newspapers, the New York Times continues to sell off assets to stay alive. The sale of its papers in Florida, South Carolina, and California is expected to generate a much-needed capital insertion of about $150 million, less than was expected. Those newspapers’ revenues had been steadily declining, falling another 7 percent for the first nine months of the year.

Just days before the sale was announced the Times' chief executive officer, Janet Robinson, also announced her retirement. She had been in the difficult position of trying to put a positive spin on bad news to the point where even comedian Jon Stewart took advantage of her woes in a short video clip.

 

With the latest announcement of its sale of 16 newspapers, the New York Times continues to sell off assets to stay alive. The sale of its papers in Florida, South Carolina, and California is expected to generate a much-needed capital insertion of about $150 million, less than was expected. Those newspapers’ revenues had been steadily declining, falling another 7 percent for the first nine months of the year.

Just days before the sale was announced the Times' chief executive officer, Janet Robinson, also announced her retirement. She had been in the difficult position of trying to put a positive spin on bad news to the point where even comedian Jon Stewart took advantage of her woes in a short video clip.

The visible decline of the Times has been tracked for years. Eric Englund, publisher of the Hyperinflation Survival Guide, noted back in February 2009 that the Times' financial position was teetering on the edge of insolvency despite having been profitable for seven of the previous nine years. After declaring dividends and buying back its shares to support the company’s stock (which traded as high as 55 in the summer of 2002 and now trades at less than 8), Englund concluded that the company had a negative net worth of $171 million and only stayed alive by selling assets and borrowing. At the time he predicted that the Times would either be sold or would be forced into bankruptcy.

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