WHAT A WEEK: A week that started with the sale of three legacy media properties — The Boston Globe, Newsweek and The Washington Post — is drawing to a close on a relatively stable note for The New York Times and Time Inc., two other media companies that also faced questions about their future.
Time Warner Inc. and The New York Times Co., whose shares have climbed double digits this year in New York trading, closed Thursday up 0.16 percent at $63.94 and flat at $12.02, respectively, both near their 52-week highs.
Time Warner reported second-quarter earnings Wednesday, and chief executive officer Jeff Bewkes also took the opportunity to say that the spin-off of its publishing arm, Time Inc., would be delayed until early 2014, from late fall of this year, to give the new ceo, Joseph A. Ripp, more latitude to settle on a new strategy for the challenged division.
“Our top priority in the spin-off is to make sure that we put Time Inc. in the best possible position to succeed. So rather than rush to complete the transaction this year, we’ve decided that it’s prudent to give Joe some time to further refine Time Inc.’s strategic direction,” Bewkes said during the earnings call.
In late July, Ripp became Time Inc.’s fourth ceo since Ann S. Moore stepped down in 2010.
For its part, Time Warner’s revenue grew 10 percent in the second quarter to $7.4 billion, and a net income of $771 million on the strength of its cable properties, like HBO and CNN. However, Time Inc., which publishes People and InStyle, lost 3 percent in revenue, falling to $833 million, because of industry-wide declines in advertising spending and circulation.
Shares of the Times Co. fell to $11.77 last week after its second-quarter report showed a 1 percent drop in revenue, to $485.4 million. On Saturday, John Henry, the owner of the Boston Red Sox, bought the New England Media Group, which includes The Boston Globe, for $70 million.
Following the Graham family’s sale of the Washington Post Monday to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, there were again questions about the commitment of the Times’ owners, the Ochs-Sulzberger family, to hang on to the newspaper their family has owned for more than a century.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the Times’ publisher and chairman of the company, felt compelled to dismiss the speculation in an joint internal memo with vice chairman Michael Golden that was circulated shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“Will our family seek to sell the Times? The answer to that is no,” Sulzberger and Golden wrote. “The company is profitable and generates very strong cash flow, which we believe makes us perfectly able to fund our future growth.”