New York Times Co. confirms Globe is for sale
The New York Times Co. today confirmed for the first time that it is seeking a possible sale of The Boston Globe.
The Times Co. disclosed in a quarterly financial report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it hired Wall Street bank Goldman, Sachs & Co. ‘‘to explore the potential sale of its New England Media Group,’’ which includes the Globe, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and their websites.
The Globe first reported Goldman’s hiring about two months ago. The New York Times and other publications have also reported the Globe’s possible sale.
The Times Co. said in the filing that the Globe and T&G have been affected by the forces pummeling traditional media companies. Those forces include the migration of readers and advertisers to the Internet and a deep recession.
Exploring a sale is in addition to significant restructuring at the Globe and the T&G.
‘‘We have responded by developing a strategic plan that includes consolidating printing facilities, raising circulation prices and reducing compensation and headcount,’’ the Times Co. said.
Shortly after the filing, Globe publisher P. Steven Ainsley wrote in a memo to employees: "I want to let you know that the top executives of The New York Times Company hold the employees of the New England Media Group in the highest regard, and are proud of our journalistic quality and business acumen. The exploration of a potential sale does not reflect on their confidence in our abilities or professionalism."
Ainsley also wrote that the Globe's turnaround plan is working.
"We are making considerable progress in improving our financial position. We continue to be an industry leader in journalism. We are expanding our already excellent online capabilities and features," he wrote. "Our sales and marketing teams continue find new ways to capture high shares of advertiser and consumer revenues. In other words, we are staying true to our mission and can't allow any potential change in ownership to distract us."
At least two groups submitted preliminary bids for the Globe by a July 30 deadline set by the Times Co., the Globe reported last week. One group is led by Boston Celtics co-owner and Bain Capital executive Stephen G. Pagliuca and by Jack Connors, the chairman of Partners HealthCare and a former advertising executive. The other is led by Stephen E. Taylor, a former Globe executive and member of the family that sold the Globe to the Times Co.
The Pagliuca-Connors group proposed a ‘‘civic approach’’ that would involve a nonprofit foundation to help fund and run the news operation. Under such a model, the goal would be to make enough money to support the Globe’s journalism, but without pressure to make large profits.
The Times Co. bought the Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993. It’s unlikely that it would receive an offer anywhere near that amount. Some newspapers, such as The Rocky Mountain News in Denver and Post-Intelligencer in Seattle, were unable to attract any buyers and shut down. Others that have sold have gone for little more than the value of their real estate and equipment, according to industry analysts.