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The Globe to get (even less) valuable


 

The New York Times Co. didn't have such a hot third quarter, period--but the company seems especially down on the New England Media Group, which includes the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. From Bloomberg:

The publisher plans to write down the value of its New England newspapers, including the Boston Globe, by as much as $150 million. The third-quarter loss from continuing operations totaled $2.08 million, or 1 cent a share. 

Let's say that $150 million number holds up. Coupled with the Times Co.'s $814 million write-down of the NEMG back in 2007, the NEMG will have lost almost a billion dollars in value over less than two years. 

By way of comparison, the Times Co. paid a total of just under $1.4 billion for the Globe ($1.1 billion in 1993) and T&G ($296 million in 2000).

Meanwhile, Reuters' write-up suggests that the NYT Co. may be looking to unload the Globe--but also that that won't be easy to do:

"We plan to continue to explore opportunities to reduce our debt levels," [NYT Co.] Chief Executive Janet Robinson said in a statement earlier in the day.

Benchmark Co. analyst Edward Atorino interpreted her remarks as a sign the Times would consider selling properties.

"The word 'opportunities' you could put in quote marks," he said. "There's been this long-standing Wall Street comment that, 'Why don't you do something with your building? Sell it, hock it'... I'm not sure they can sell The Boston Globe anymore."

This raises a couple questions. At what point might the NYT Co. that the Globe, rather than being an asset of dwindling value, is a liability, plain and simple? And what then?

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