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NYT Sells Globe, Keeps Pensions Liability


The New York Times announced today that it had finally managed to unload the Boston Globe and its New England Media Group to the owner of the Boston Red Sox, John Henry, for the not-so-princely sum of $70 million. Considering that the Times paid $1.1 billion for the Globe in 1993 and that analysts were expecting the Globe to fetch as much as $180 million, this is pretty much a fire sale price.

A critical detail glossed over in the Times‘ own coverage but helpfully highlighted by the FT:

Under Mr Henry’s deal for the Globe and other assets, he will not assume the newspaper’s pension liabilities, The New York Times reported. Those liabilities are reportedly estimated at about $110m.

“Without that concession, the sales price would be significantly lower,” said Ken Doctor, a media industry analyst.

The NYT story briefly mentions that it would hold on to the pensions liabilities, but doesn’t state the amount of the burden explicitly—a nice bit of cocoon-spinning by its staff for its readers. Nothing to see here!

The truth is that Times staffers are experiencing the break up of the blue social model in their own lives. Already a lot of jobs have been lost, and it is likely that more will have to go before a smaller and leaner company finally emerges.

The good news for the Times is that with this sale behind it, it can focus on what is working for it. Their online product has become much stronger, and their circulation and online revenues are up (though by not enough to offset the ad revenue decline, yet).

Still, with Newsweek disappearing off newsstands, the Globe having lost more than 90% of its value since its purchase, the LA Times on the auction block and the NYT scrounging under the couch pillows for change, CBS off Time Warner in New York to little public concern (inconceivable in the days of Walter Cronkite), the most obvious fact today about the MSM is that it is shrinking. It may have a good ways to go yet before it’s down to a workable size.

[Erika Cross /]

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  • Pete

    Yet another blow to the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party.

    And the saps at the New York Times have to swallow the pension liabilities. Love it!

    • Jeff Jones

      Yeah, there is definitely schadenfreude at seeing NYT staff losing pensions, especially after they put out that video whining about it. I mean, they deserve better than all of us other private sector types, right.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    And yet Fox News and Talk radio are doing well, and people trust them. People are becoming more and more aware of the volume of spinning, unreported news, and outright lying the MSM is responsible for.

    • bpuharic

      People don’t trust Fox. Right wingers do

      There’s a difference

      • Tom

        Thanks for showing your true colors.

  • cubanbob

    Considering the NYT took a billion dollars of 1994 dollars and turned it into seventy million 2013 dollars and still has a pension liability makes me wonder why anyone would take them seriously about anything. As for Time-Warner and CBS, I don’t care for either but since Time-Warner has a legal monopoly it should be forced to carry the network. If the republican’s had any sense they should propose legislation to unbundle cable. Let the customer pick and choose which chanel they want and only pay for those they wish to pay for and allow the customer to only elect for Internet or phone service if that is all they want.

  • cubanbob

    An aside on the NYT sale of The Boston Globe, why would they turn down an offer of three hundred million plus getting getting rid of the Globe’s pension liabilities and take a seventy million cash deal but keeping the pension obligation. Strange indeed.

  • ljgude

    Put it this way, the NY Times placed Abu Ghraib above the fold for over a month, if memory serves. Benghazi is at least as emblematic of policy failure and involved actual bodies including a US ambassador, but show no similar zeal to get at what happened. What difference does it make? Answer: decreased circulation.

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