Earnings Preview: New York Times

Feb. 1.12 | About: New York (NYT)

New York Times (NYSE:NYT) is expected to report Q4 earnings on Thursday, February 2 with a conference call scheduled for 11:00 am ET.

Guidance

Analysts are looking for EPS of 41c on revenue of $646.39M. The consensus range is 39c-44c for EPS, and $645M-$648.53M for revenue, according to First Call. In December, the company announced that CEO Janet Robinson would retire, effective December 31, and said Arthur Sulzberger would serve as CEO on an interim basis while Robinson has agreed to serve as a consultant to the company for one year. The company said it was initiating an internal and external search for a new CEO. Rumors swirled that Scott Heekin-Canedy, President and General Manager at New York Times and a major proponent of the paywall that went up in 2011, could replace Robinson. According to a source, Bloomberg reported on January 27 that Robinson was pushed out by Sulzberger and COO Michael Golden. Members of the Ochs Sulzberger family reportedly put pressure on Sulzberger and Robinson to reinstate the company's dividend, reported the New York Post. Last month, the company agreed to sell its Regional Media Group to Halifax Media Holdings for $132M in cash. New York Times said it would record an after-tax gain on the sale in Q1.

Analyst Views

Citigroup views the implied sale price of New York Times' Regional Media Group as disappointing since it is below the 3x to 5x EBITDA multiple the firm expected. The Boston Herald reported in December that a sale of the Boston Globe may be forthcoming if the right price is reached, with Aaron Kushner's 2100 Trust reportedly putting together an offer for the paper. Analysts and investors will listen for comments on the CEO search, as well as for comments on advertising trends in the quarter and for 2012. Additionally, the company may offer comments on additional titles it may look to sell, including the International Herald Tribune.