Friday, February 20, 2009

New York TImes Stock Drops Below $4 Per Share

Post courtesy of Emily Mullin

Barron's - One sign of how desperate things have gotten at the New York Times (NYT): the share price is cheaper than it costs to purchase a copy of the Sunday paper in New York City.

Shares dropped below $4 in Tuesday’s trading, reaching an all-time low for the stock. That’s south of the $4 cover price that the paper commands at New York City news vendors. (Newsstands themselves have become about as rare as a good quarter of ad spending.)

The downturn in the housing and automotive markets, coupled with the overall economic recession, have cut sharply into advertising revenues, and effectively ruined the model for newspaper operations. When the Times reported its fiscal fourth quarter late last month, it said its net plunged 48% on a year-over-year basis, as ad revenues declined 18% in the period. The company has looked for non-core assets to sell, and has hired bankers to organize the disposition of its partially owned sports operations, which include the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Stadium.

Still, as the poisonous ad-spending market continues to wreak havoc on the operations of newspaper publishers, it’s a wonder whether there won’t be a time when shares of the Times meets the price newsstands charge for the daily paper, currently pegged at $1.50.

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