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OUT OF THE REGIONS: On Tuesday, The New York Times Co. sold its regional newspaper business to Halifax Media Holdings, a Daytona Beach, Fla.-based investment firm, for $143 million in cash. Last week, the Times Co. revealed it was in advanced discussions with Halifax Media to sell all 16 of its regional newspapers, including the Sarasota Herald-Tribune of Florida and Tuscaloosa News of Alabama.
Halifax will notify employees within the next 48 hours about whether they will have a job with the company.
The Times stated the money from the sale would be used for general corporate purposes. “The sale of our Regional Media Group will enable The New York Times Company to continue our transformation to a digitally focused, multiplatform media company,” said chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. The regional group, which accounted for only 11 percent of the Times Co.’s overall business, reported a 6.7 percent revenue decline for the third quarter.
The $143 million price tag, criticized by media observers as much smaller than expected, comes as the Times Co. faces even more scrutiny from its newspaper guild for freezing pension benefits for foreign employees overseas and for potentially planning to freeze those benefits for other employees at the Times. An open letter to Sulzberger, addressing these concerns, was posted on Dec. 23 at saveourtimes.com. As of Tuesday evening, 301 employees had signed the guild letter.
Following the sale of the regional group, the Times Co. will own its namesake newspaper, The Boston Globe, Boston.com, the International Herald Tribune, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and the About Group. It continues to have a 7 percent stake in the Fenway Sports Group, owner of the Boston Red Sox, after selling more than half its share earlier this year.