Accuracy in Media

The New York Times Company announced on Wednesday that it will put their New England Media Group, which includes The Boston Globe, up for sale so it can focus on The New York Times brand.

timthumbThis is the second time in the last four years that the Times Co. has tried to sell the Globe and its other New England assets. In 2009 the company turned down an unsolicited bid of $35 million-plus assumed pension liabilities for the Globe saying that the offer was too low, despite the fact that the paper was set to lose $85 million that year.

Since then, the Globe’s finances have stabilized somewhat, due to cutbacks that have shrunk the newsroom and a modestly successful launch of a pay-wall at, though the circulation has fallen 24% in the last four years.

The sale of the Globe will mark the end to an ugly chapter for the Times Co. and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., whose father approved the purchase of the paper for an eye-popping $1.1 billion in 1993. Estimates value the paper today at between $150 and $175 million, excluding pension liabilities, which means that the company will receive just a fraction of its original purchase price, ranking it as one of the worst business decisions ever made in the newspaper industry.

Read the memo announcing the sale via Politico.

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past several years, we have recast our Company, introducing new products and business models, while delivering the highest quality journalism to our readers and advertisers. During that same time, we have made some difficult decisions about the direction and composition of our Company.

Today we are announcing that we plan to sell our New England Media Group, which includes The Boston Globe, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and their related properties. The sale of the New England Media Group will allow us to sharpen our strategic and financial focus on The New York Times brand.

This was not an easy decision as the New England Media Group has, for many years, brought tremendous value to our Company. While part of the Times Company, The Boston Globe has been awarded 10 Pulitzer Prizes and many other professional awards.

We want to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues at the Globe and T&G for their many substantial contributions to our journalistic reputation and to our Company overall.

To read the press release, click here.

Arthur and Mark

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