By David B. Wilkerson, MarketWatch

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — New York Times Co., battling along with the rest of the newspaper industry to remain solvent during the financial meltdown, said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit fell 48%, but its results still surpassed most estimates.

The company (NYT:5.79, -0.19, -3.2%) also said it has hired Goldman Sachs & Co. to help it explore the sale of its nearly 18% stake in New England Sports Ventures, which includes the Boston Red Sox.

The quarterly profit decline reflected the reduced value of an asset at the International Herald Tribune, severance costs and ongoing declines in advertising sales.

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