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New York Times sees charge for unit closing

A New York City police officer stands outside the New York Times headquarters building in New York, October 22, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Times Co will cut 530 jobs and take a charge of up to $53 million for closing its City & Suburban unit, which distributes the company’s namesake newspaper in the New York City area.

The Times plans to save about $30 million on an annual basis because of the closure, it said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

Expense cutting is important to the Times, which also slashed its dividend by nearly 75 percent recently and might sell parts of the company as it tries to stay afloat amid an advertising decline made worse by the financial crisis.

The company plans to provide severance packages for laid-off workers. Its estimated charge of $48 million to $53 million for the charges associated with closing City & Suburban likely will include about $30 million for staff cuts.

It will record most of the charges by the end of 2008 and in the first quarter of 2009.

The Times is looking for ways to save money so it can pay off more than $1 billion in debt. The company, which also owns The Boston Globe and other papers around the United States, is also grappling with a severe decline in advertising revenue.

The Ochs-Sulzberger family, which controls the company through a special class of stock, approved the recent dividend cut, but many media observers speculate that this will press younger members of the clan into urging the older members who control the shares to sell the company.

Reporting by Robert MacMillan, editing by Leslie Gevirtz

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