- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2009

AP (AP) - _ The New York Times Co., the owner of one of the world’s most respected newspapers, is scheduled to report its first-quarter results before the market opens Tuesday. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: Publishing all the news that’s fit to print is becoming an increasingly difficult for the New York Times Co. as it struggles with a worsening decline in the advertising revenue that pays most of its bills.

Coming off a 13 percent decline in ad revenue in 2008, the New York-based company has been scrambling to cut costs and raise more money as its business drooped even more during the first three months of this year.

The desperate measures include suspending shareholder dividends to conserve about $133 million this year and selling most of the company’s new headquarters for $225 million. Most of the workers in New York are facing a temporary 5 percent reduction in their paychecks through the remainder of the year and management is demanding even bigger concessions at the company’s next largest U.S. newspaper, the Boston Globe.

If it can’t wring $20 million in employee concessions from the Boston Globe by early May, the Times Co. has threatened to shut down the newspaper to avoid further losses. After suffering a loss of about $50 million last year, the Boston Globe is on a pace to lose another $85 million this year.

The financial misery represents a sobering reversal for Globe, whose previous prosperity persuaded the Times Co. to pay $1.1 billion for the newspaper in 1993.

It hasn’t been all bad news for the company. The New York Times’ Web site ranks among the most trafficked on the Internet, but the accompanying increases in online ad sales haven’t been nearly enough to offset the erosion of the print medium.

BY THE NUMBERS: Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the Times Co. to report a loss of 4 cents per share on revenue of $630.8 million.

ANALYST TAKE: Most analysts still view the Times Co. as one of the strongest newspaper publishers. The office sale and a recent $250 million infusion from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has given Times more wiggle room than most other large newspaper publishers.

“By raising more money like it has, The New York Times is able to say, ‘We are not in dire straits at this point,’” Gimme Credit analyst Dave Novosel said in an interview last month.

WHAT’S AHEAD: In a staff memo just before the first quarter ended, Times Co. Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Chief Executive Janet Robinson gave little hope for a turnaround this year. If the outlook becomes even bleaker, the company may be forced to consider further cuts to newspaper staffing.

The Times Co. is still hoping to raise another $150 million or so by selling its 17.8 percent stake in a partnership that owns the Boston Red Sox. Other smaller newspapers published by the company in Massachusetts, Alabama, California, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina conceivably could be put up for sale, although buyers are currently scarce.

STOCK PERFORMANCE: The Times Co.’s shares plunged 38 percent during the first quarter. The stock price has rebounded slightly during the first few weeks of April.

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