By Jennifer Saba
Sept 19 The New York Times Co board of
directors has initiated a quarterly dividend, ending a nearly
five-year dry spell for its investors and the family that
controls one of the world's most prestigious newspapers.
The company announced on Thursday that it would pay 4 cents
per share on Oct. 24 to Class A and Class B stockholders as of
the close of business on Oct. 9.
"We are pleased to announce the initiation of this quarterly
dividend, which will allow us to return capital to our
shareholders while maintaining the financial flexibility
necessary to continue to invest in the company's transformation
and various growth initiatives," Arthur Sulzberger Jr, chairman
of the New York Times Co, said in statement.
The Ochs-Sulzberger family controls the company through
Class B shares.
The New York Times suspended the dividend in February 2009
during the financial crisis, which was particularly brutal for
the newspaper industry.
The New York Times began selling assets and took out a $250
million loan from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, which it
eventually paid back.
The company worked to shore up its cash position, bolstered
by the sale of its regional U.S. newspapers including The Boston
Globe and its roll out of a digital pay model at its flagship.
"The company has generated decent digital sales growth which
has partially offset declines," said Liang Feng, an analyst with
"It's in a position where profits are consistent enough and
its balance sheet is sound enough to issue a dividend. It's
still relatively small but it's a good first step."
Analysts and investors have questioned over the past several
quarters when the company would approve a dividend, since its
cash stockpile had begun to improve.
The New York Times has almost $750 million in cash and
short-term marketable securities, and about $700 million in
long-term debt and capital lease obligations, according to its
most recent quarterly filing. The debt does not include pension
While the company has some breathing room, New York Times
Chief Executive Mark Thompson said in a statement it would
remain prudent "given the expectation of continued volatility in
advertising revenue and the fact that our growth strategy is at
an early stage of development."
The New York Times last paid out a dividend of 6 cents in
Shares of the New York Times Co closed up almost 1 percent
at $11.54 on Thursday.