New York Times Launches Chinese News Site, Shares Rally

Jun.28.12 | About: New York (NYT)

Shares of New York Times Co (NYSE:NYT) closed higher by nearly 8% Wednesday following news that the company will launch a Chinese- language news site.

NYT ChartClick to enlargeNYT data by YCharts

The Site

The new site will be available at cn.nytimes.com. The site will publish roughly 30 articles per day. The majority of the articles available will be translated from regular New York Times articles while some will be written by Chinese editors and freelance writers. NYT says the site will not be tailored to the demands of the Chinese government and the site will not be operated as a Chinese media company. This means that the site will likely be blocked by the Chinese government. However, in the long-run, the new Chinese could prove valuable.

NYT Things To Know

  • Short interest stands at 14.4 million shares or 13.8% of the float.
  • NYT currently has $430 million in cash on hand, $774 million in debt, and $1.1 billion in equity.
  • Carlos Slim holds a 7% stake in the company.
  • Newspaper stocks have been moving up following Warren Buffett's recent newspaper buys and News Corp's (NASDAQ:NWSA) discussion about spinning off its newspaper assets.

Long-term Potential

As it stands now, the New York Times China is unlikely to mean much for the company as the site will almost certainly be blocked in China. However, in the future, if the government allows some form of the New York Times China website to be viewed in China, the upside could be staggering. The demand for online content continues to grow everywhere in the world including China. Becoming a leader in the Chinese news market would completely change the dynamics of NYT. It is worth noting that the most popular brands in China are western brands and this is something that NYT should try to capitalize on. If given the opportunity by the government, NYT should be able to build a very strong brand in China.

My Take

While the Chinese version of the New York Times is unlikely to have much of an impact over the short-term, the long-term impact could be substantial. However, the long-term success of the site really depends on whether the Chinese government decides to open up the media or not. As I said in my previous commentary, while NYT is not Warren Buffett's favorite newspaper, I still believe there are reasons to like the stock.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.