New York Times Brings Back Dividend Payout After Five-Year Break

New York Times Co. said it will pay a dividend of 4 cents a share next month, its first shareholder payout since the end of 2008.

The newspaper publisher will make the payment to both its shareholder classes on Oct. 24 as part of a plan to reestablish a quarterly dividend, it said yesterday in a statement. The company had cash and short-term investments of $747 million at the end of last quarter, with debt of $694 million.

The Ochs-Sulzberger family, which controls Times Co. through its Class B shares, has pressured the company to resume dividends that used to supply it with as much as $20 million annually. If the dividend remains at 4 cents a share, the family’s 13 percent stake in the company would give it $774,163 each quarter, or $3.1 million annually from the dividends.

Times Co. stopped paying its dividend five years ago as it coped with a decline in revenue from print advertising as readers turned to the Internet. The company has boosted circulation sales by asking online readers to pay for access to its news articles.

“The strength of our balance sheet justified the restoration of a dividend,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson said in the statement. “Given the expectation of continued volatility in advertising revenue and the fact that our growth strategy is at an early stage of development, we will maintain a prudent view of both the balance sheet and free cash flow.”

The dividend will be paid to shareholders of record as of Oct. 9, the company said.

Times Co. gained less than 1 percent to $11.54 yesterday in New York before the dividend was announced.