The New York Times Co. Tuesday said it agreed to sell its Regional Media Group, including 16 newspapers and related businesses, to Halifax Media Holdings LLC for $143 million in cash. The deal is expected to close within a few weeks, and the Times Co. said it would result in an after-tax gain in the first quarter of 2012.
The Times Co. estimated that the net, after-tax proceeds of the sale would be approximately $150 million.
The sale is part of the continuing transformation of the company from an old-line print newspaper publisher to a digital news powerhouse led by its flagship newspaper brand.
In a statement, Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said the sale would “enable” the company to continue that transformation to become a “digitally-focused, multiplatform media company.”
Halifax CEO Michael Redding implied that the company would continue to focus the papers on “strong local news coverage,” noting that it is not simply a matter of “important community service,” but also, “in our eyes, a good investment.”
Under the Times Co.’s management, newspapers within the group won three Pulitzer Prizes, including the 1971 Prize for editorials in The Gainesville Sun on the peaceful desegregation of Florida's schools, the 1997 Prize for spot news photography for The Press Democrat for a photograph of a firefighter rescuing a teenager from raging floodwaters and the 2011 Prize for investigative reporting for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s year-long series on the challenges that Florida’s property insurance industry have posed for ordinary citizens.
Newspapers in the group include:
• Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Fla.;
• The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif.;
• The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla.;
• Star-News in Wilmington, N.C.;
• Herald-Journal in Spartanburg, S.C.;
• Star-Banner in Ocala, Fla.;
• The Gainesville Sun in Gainesville, Fla.;
• The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Ala.;
• The Gadsden Times in Gadsden, Ala.;
• The Courier in Houma, La.;
• Times-News in Hendersonville, N.C.;
• Daily Comet in Thibodaux, La.;
• The Dispatch in Lexington, N.C.;
• Petaluma Argus-Courier in Petaluma, Calif.;
• News Chief in Winter Haven, Fla.; and
• North Bay Business Journal in Santa Rosa, Calif.