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New York Times Co. 'moving ahead' with sale of stake in Red Sox

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  February 10, 2010 01:32 PM

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New York Times Co. president and CEO Janet Robinson said today that the company's plan to sell its 17.5 percent stake in the Red Sox is "moving ahead," but is complicated.

“We continue to explore the possible sale of our interest in New England Sports Ventures,” Robinson said during a conference call about fourth quarter and end-of-the-year earnings. “The process is complicated and is taking longer than we anticipated."

Robinson said she is optimistic about a reaching a deal to sell the company's stake in the team, but added that, "It is more complicated, as you can well imagine, there's a lot of due diligence with prospective buyers that needs to be done. It is a multifaceted buy because it's not just the Red Sox ball club, it's also Fenway Park and real estate holdings and NESN, and certainly Major League Baseball plays a part in this as well and so it is quite complex. But we are certainly moving ahead in regard to selling this part of our portfolio."

The New York Times Co. reported a profit of $90.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, up from $27.7 million in the same quarter a year ago, as circulation revenue rose and advertising declines slowed.

For the year, the company, which owns The Boston Globe, posted net income of $19.9 million, reversing a loss of nearly $58 million in 2008. The Times Co. posted operating earnings per share of 44 cents, excluding special items, for the quarter, exceeding Wall Street expectations of 38 cents a share.

Information from the Globe's Beth Healy was used in this report.

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