August 18, 2019

Asset Sales Help Quarterly Profit at Times Company

The New York Times Company reported a big jump in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, largely because of gains from asset sales.

Net income was $176.9 million, or $1.14 a share, a 200 percent increase from $58.9 million, or 39 cents a share, in the period a year earlier.

The results were aided by a $164.6 million gain on the sale of the company’s stake in Indeed.com, a jobs search engine, and the sale of the About Group, the online resource company, which closed on the first day of the fourth quarter for $300 million. The sale of the About Group resulted in a total gain of $96.7 million, or $61.9 million after taxes.

Income from continuing operations rose to $117 million, compared with $51 million in the period a year earlier.

Total revenue for the quarter rose 5.2 percent, to $575.8 million. Over all, the company’s advertising revenue declined 3.1 percent. Print advertising at the company’s newspapers, which include The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The International Herald Tribune, shrank by 5.6 percent and digital advertising revenue across the company rose by 5.1 percent. Circulation revenue grew 16.1 percent.

For the entire year, the Times Company reported net income of $133 million, or 87 cents a share, compared with a loss of $39.7 million, or 26 cents a share, in the previous year.

Income from continuing operations rose to $159.7 million in 2012 from $51.9 million in 2011, or $1.04 per share up from 34 cents in 2011. Total revenue rose 1.9 percent, to $1.99 billion.

The past year marked the first time that circulation revenue surpassed advertising revenue. Circulation revenue grew by 10.4 percent, to $952.9 million, mainly from the growth in digital subscriptions and the rise in print circulation prices. Advertising for the year declined 5.9 percent, to $898.1 million.

The number of paid subscribers to the Web site, e-reader and other digital editions of The Times and The International Herald Tribune reached about 640,000 at the end of the fourth quarter, a 13 percent increase from the third quarter of 2012. Digital subscriptions to The Boston Globe and BostonGlobe.com also grew, by 8 percent, to about 28,000 subscribers.

“The demonstrated willingness of users here and around the world to pay for the high quality journalism for which The New York Times and the company’s other titles are renowned will be a key building block in the strategy for growth, which we are currently developing and which I will have much more to say about later in the year,” said Mark Thompson, the president and chief executive of the Times Company.

The company expects advertising revenue to remain sluggish in the first quarter of 2013 and total circulation revenue to grow by “mid-single digits.” The company said in its release that it “expects to benefit from its digital subscription initiatives as well as from the print circulation price increase at The New York Times implemented in the first quarter of 2013.” The company also said it expects its first-quarter operating costs to decline.

The results followed several difficult quarters during which the company tried to streamline operations and expand its digital and video presence. In early December, The Times said the newsroom needed to contribute to the company’s cost-cutting efforts and announced it was seeking 30 managers to accept buyout packages. The company also allowed employees represented by the Newspaper Guild to volunteer for buyout packages.

In a memo that Jill Abramson, the executive editor, wrote to the staff last week, she said that she had received enough volunteers that layoffs were kept to a handful. She also announced plans to restructure the masthead. On Wednesday, the paper also announced that it had hired Rebecca Howard from the AOL Huffington Post Media Group to become the new general manager of the video production unit.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/08/business/asset-sales-help-quarterly-profit-at-times-company.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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