Thursday, 23 October 2008

Debt, revenue and tipping points at the NYT Co: take over rumour situation? Buy now or keep on selling short?

I've been posting on NYT debt and revenue and tipping points in consumer confidence for some time. Interesting to note that these latest Q3 results have got people saying the unthinkable: the end of the NYT or at least an iminent crisis?

BTW: call this journalism? An article about how the NYT might start attracting takeover rumours whilst planting one itself with no other reference to anyone? Opinion, and interesting.

Time to check that share price after this one....

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- New York Times Co. is in danger of attracting takeover rumors.
On Thursday, the Times Co. which also owns the Boston Globe and additional assets, reported that third-quarter net income fell to $6.5 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with a profit of $13.4 million, or 9 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Including $10.3 million, or 7 cents a share, in severance costs related to the shutdown of a New York-area newsstand distribution unit, the company posted a preliminary loss from continuing operations of 1 cent a share.
See full story.
Can you remember the last time New York Times Co. actually reported shoot-out-the-lights numbers? Or even fist-pumping, high-fiving good news of any sort?
Times supporters will say that without the severance costs the company would have earned 6 cents a share. At the same time, its revenue fell 9% to $687 million. One step forward, two steps back.
It's getting to a depressing point where the Times is approaching a crisis of confidence, if not the beginning of a financial crisis. Its newspapering rivals, at least, can hope for help from other units
The Washington Post Companyhas reaped handsome benefits from its Kaplan education business, for instance).
But the Times can't hope to find the same sort of assistance (and yes, Kaplan, too, has lately had its share of challenges).
How long will it be until the vulture mergers-and-acquisitions pros start to smell a takeover of the Times at these levels? The Times' stock price may sink further, only making the company seem more appealing to a bargain hunter who sees value in arguably the most prestigious brand name in the media world. Of course, the controlling Sulzberger family must agree to an acquisition.
The Times had better get its act together, or its business writers will end up writing stories about those vultures circling the newspaper's sparkling new headquarters.

-- Jon Friedman


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