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.

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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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