The New York Times Co. said Tuesday that it intends to sell its group of nine network-affiliated TV stations in order to concentrate on its newspaper and digital businesses.
Chief Executive Janet L. Robinson said in a statement that while the stations were profitable and well-run, the sales would allow us to sharpen our focus on developing our newspaper and rapidly growing digital businesses, and the synergies between them.
The stations accounted for 4 percent of the company's revenue last year. The Times said the station group is expected to have revenue of about $150 million this year and operating profit of about $33 million.
Other newspaper publishers also own television stations. Gannett Co., the largest newspaper company in the country, operates 23 stations, while Tribune Co., the third-largest publisher, has 26 stations. McClatchy Co., the second-largest, doesn't own any.
Dissident shareholders of Tribune have argued that the company's broadcasting properties should be split from its newspapers, saying the hoped-for synergies between them haven't panned out.
The news was announced after the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The Times' shares rose 86 cents or 3.9 percent in after-hours trading, having gained 28 cents at $22.28 during the regular session.
The stations being sold by the Times include:
_WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa, an NBC affiliate
_KFSM-TV in Ft. Smith, Ark., a CBS affiliate
_WHNT-TV in Huntsville, Ala., CBS affiliate
_WREG-TV in Memphis, Tenn., a CBS affiliate
_WQAD-TV in Moline, Ill., an ABC affiliate
_WTKR-TV in Norfolk, Va., CBS affiliate
_KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, Okla., an NBC affiliate
_KAUT-TV in Oklahoma City, Okla., a MyNetworkTV affiliate, and
_WNEP-TV in Scranton, Penn., an ABC affiliate.
The Times is being advised on the sales by Goldman Sachs Group.