Cash is king for the New York Times right now.
The media world has been swirling with talk about the company looking to sell The Boston Globe and its stake in the Red Sox. Now comes news that the company has told securities regulators that it may sell shares or other securities to raise cash.
Remember, the New York Times has a $400 million credit line due next May. It also is borrowing $225 million against its Manhattan headquarters. The company has made other moves to conserve cash, including cutting its dividend by nearly 75 percent.
But raising cash isn’t all that easy in this environment. Yesterday two Boston businessmen denied they were interested in buying The Boston Globe or the Red Sox stake, and selling shares would only put more pressure on an already depressed stock price. Besides, while cash will buy the New York Times some breathing space, it hardly solves the long-term problems that are crushing the newspaper business.
Here’s the take from Silicon Alley Insider:
Any cash the New York Times raises in the current environment will be outrageously expensive. It’s also hard to imagine that the company will attract much interest from equity investors until it can articulate a plan for long-term survival that involves something other than selling off non-core assets (eventually, it will run out of these).
In our opinion, this plan will need to involve a major restructuring, including a reduction in the size of the company’s editorial operation by at least 40% (and, eventually, more, as the print business wanes). Based on NYTCo’s response to the crisis to date, however, we suspect management will continue to hope for a miracle.