Well, one supposes it’s better than bankruptcy (also, a corruption scandal!). The Financial Times is reporting that the New York Times Co. is “considering potential asset sales and is in discussions with lenders as it prepares for one of the ‘most challenging years’ in its history.” These asset sales, mind you, do not include the Times building, which the company announced on Monday it would be borrowing against. Nor do they include all the Barack Obama election issues which gave the paper a bump last month. Times Co. chief executive Janet Robinson isn’t giving details but there is speculation that the company could be looking to offload its “New England newspapers including the Boston Globe and its 17 per cent stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball team.” However(!) Robinson does stress that the company is NOT for sale (you know, until it is).
At the UBS conference yesterday Jeff Bercovici reports that the Times execs were coming under some heavy questioning, particularly about the Times much-delayed decision to cut dividends. Why so late and why not more?
CFO Jim Follo says the cuts “the right balance between maintaining financial stability and returning cash to shareholders.” Which is to say, and there’s been much speculation on this before, that the those rich dividends are the only thing keeping the Sulztberger family from flying to pieces a la the Bancrofts.