Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Morning Brief: The NYT Co. sells Regional Media Group; Senator Nelson decides to retire from the Senate; U.K. government may develop iPad app for the Prime Minister

The New York Times Company said late yesterday that it had agreed to sell its Regional Media Group to Halifax Media Holdings for the rock bottom price of $143 million.

The newspaper group includes dailies such as The Press Democrat, The Sarasota Herald Tribune, The Gainesville Sun, and The Tuscaloosa News.

The group, which has been under the direction of Michael Golden since 2009, who is also Vice Chairman of The New York Times Co. According to the Times story on the sale, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company, said the sale "will enable The New York Times Company to continue our transformation to a digitally focused, multiplatform media company.”

The MediaDecoder blog last week said that adveritsing revenues at the group had been falling precipitously: 30 percent in 2009 to $193 million, and 8.2 percent last year to $177 million. Total revenue was said to be around $264 million (said to be 11 percent of total revenue for the company).

The sales price of $143 million, therefore, represents a one time multiple of revenue of either this year's ad revenue forecast, or the forecast for 2012. Either way, it is an incredibly low price.

Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska announced yesterday that he would not seek reelection. The Democratic Senator would have faced a difficult reelection in a state where he was the only Democrat holding statewide office.

Nelson is the seventh Democrat to announce that he will retire from the Senate, increasing the chances that the Republicans could take over the chamber after the November 2012 election.

The AP said a Times of London story is reporting that the British government will be developing an app for Prime Minister David Cameron's iPad. The app could send statistics and information from government departments, as well as real time news to Cameron's iPad.

I can not provide a direct link to the Times story because the Murdoch paper is behind a solid paywall, preventing non-subscribers from accessing the story.