TIMES TABLES: How long before The New York Times Co. consists of nothing more than The New York Times?
The Times Co. disclosed on Monday that it is in advanced talks to sell its 16 regional newspapers to Halifax Media Group. The papers, which include the Tuscaloosa News of Alabama and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune of Florida, have a combined weekday circulation of 433,251. The Times Co. bought most of these papers in the Seventies and Eighties, at a time when the company was expanding and the newspaper business was awfully good.
This story first appeared in the December 20, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
That was then. It’s been a busy few weeks for The Times Co. Last week, chief executive officer Janet Robinson abruptly announced she was leaving her job at the end of the year. The Wall Street Journal reported that Robinson was forced out due, in part, to sagging sales at Web site unit About Group.
By the time The Times Co. sells its regional papers, the company’s assets will grow even smaller. It now owns: the Times proper; the International Herald Tribune; the Boston Globe, Boston.com and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette; About Group, and a 7 percent interest in the Fenway Sports Group, after selling more than half of its share earlier this year. Two years ago, the Times said the Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette were up for sale before ultimately deciding to keep them.
Revenue for the Regional Media Group was down 6.7 percent through the third quarter this year, a bit worse than the 5.5 percent decline for the New England Media Group and the 0.4 drop for The New York Times Media Group. The Regional Media Group made up 11 percent of total revenue for The Times Co. last year.