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New York Times not for sale, says publisher

Updated: 2013-08-09 08:26
( Agencies/China Daily)

The New York Times is not for sale, the newspaper reported its controlling family and publisher as saying, after a week in which The Boston Globe and The Washington Post were bought by new owners.

"Will our family seek to sell The Times? The answer to that is no," the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr, who is also chairman of the New York Times Co, said in a statement reported on the paper's website.

Sulzberger said he and vice-chairman Michael Golden had spoken to Donald Graham, chairman and chief executive of the Washington Post Co, about his decision to sell the Post and some smaller newspapers and stressed that The New York Times did not plan to follow a similar path.

Sulzberger also said the trustees of the Ochs-Sulzberger Trust and the rest of the family were "united in our commitment to work together with the company's board, senior management and employees to lead The New York Times forward into our global and digital future".

US newspapers are increasingly turning to deep-pocketed white knights to keep them alive as free news on the Internet hijacks readers and erodes profits.

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos agreed to buy The Washington Post for $250 million in a surprise deal that ends the Graham family's 80 years of ownership.

The New York Times is selling The Boston Globe to the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox baseball team for $70 million, a small fraction of what the Times paid for the paper 20 years ago.

And over the past two years, star investor Warren Buffett has snapped up more than 24 newspapers through his Berkshire Hathaway company for about $350 million.

More deals are likely. In July, the Tribune Company hived off its money-losing newspapers - including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun - into a separate company, keeping its focus on its profitable television stations.

Analysts think this opens the door for another generous buyer to plunge into the newspaper industry.

The sale of The Washington Post, whose powerful Watergate reporting brought down president Richard Nixon in 1974, shocked the industry.

But no one was surprised by the reason.

The Graham family, which has controlled the US capital's newspaper of record for eight decades, admitted it had no answers on how to make money, after readership continued to plummet and losses continued to mount at the paper during the first half of the year.

Like the Post, the Globe had been losing print subscribers and has been challenged to persuade consumers to pay to read it online.

"The accelerating print ad decline, coupled with tepid digital ad revenue growth, casts a dark cloud over the next several years," said Ken Doctor of the Nieman Journalism Lab.

Reuters - AFP

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