NYT may be mulling selling its stake in the Sox


Red Sox tickets seem recession-proof, so perhaps it's no surprise that the august New York Times Company may be considering selling its 17 percent share (h/t Romo) in the Old Town Team (a topic whose implications I previously examined here).

CHICAGO (Reuters) - New York Times Co (NYT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) could raise at least $200 million if it sold its 17-percent stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball team to raise cash to counter the advertising decline that is gouging U.S. newspaper publishers, analysts and sports bankers said.

The Red Sox stake is as noncore an asset as you can get for the Times and would still be attractive to many buyers despite the recession, given the team's success and popularity, according to the analysts and bankers.

"Sports teams are high on the list when media companies look to sell noncore assets, typically because they command strong valuations and generate limited amounts of cash flow," Fitch Ratings analyst Mike Simonton said.

As recent examples, he cited Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) sale in 2007 of the Atlanta Braves and the push by Tribune Co this year to sell the Chicago Cubs to pay down heavy debt that led the publisher to file for bankruptcy on December 8.

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