New York Times Co. (NYT), struggling with a drop in advertising sales, agreed to sell its regional- newspaper unit to Halifax Media Holdings LLC for $143 million.
The cash deal is expected to be completed within a few weeks, the New York-based company said today in a statement. Times Co. said last week it was in talks with Halifax to sell the 16 publications, including the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California, and the Star-News in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Times Co. Chief Executive Officer Janet Robinson is retiring on Dec. 31 after seven years marked by falling circulations and declining advertising revenue. The company’s shares have fallen more than 80 percent since the end of 2004 as management has grappled with ways to reinvigorate profit, including charging for online content.
The unit’s sale will help Times Co. “continue our transformation to a digitally focused, multiplatform media company,” Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said in the statement. He will also serve as interim CEO after Robinson steps down.
Halifax Media is based in Daytona Beach, Florida, and owns the Daytona Beach News-Journal. The 16 newspapers represent “not only an important community service, but, in our eyes, a good investment,” CEO Michael Redding said in the statement.
Times Co. fell 3 cents to $7.76 at the close in New York. The shares have dropped 21 percent this year.
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