Would the Times Co. sell the Globe for tax breaks?

Maybe not--in a recent column, Poynter analyst Rick Edmonds notes that claiming a loss on the Globe could help the Times Co. defray some recent capital gains:

Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson is on the record saying the company expects to close by the end of the year on the sale of its 17.75 percent share of the Boston Red Sox and the associated New England Sports Network. The Times Co. spent $75 million for that in 2002, and it could fetch at least twice that much.

I'm no tax attorney, but I believe the Globe loss also could be applied to gains on its $575 million sale of nine local television stations in 2007, July's sale of classical radio station WQXR for $45 million and the sale of part of the Times' new headquarters building for $225 million in March.

Corporations can use capital losses only to offset capital gains (not against earned income, as individuals can). The losses can be carried forward or applied as a credit against capital gains incurred in the last three years.

Very interesting angle, and one that's hitherto gone unnoted, I believe. 

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