The Boston Globe's biggest union forged a tentative deal early on Wednesday with owner New York Times Co, which had threatened to shut the money-losing daily newspaper, the Globe said.

The Boston Newspaper Guild had been the only union not to reach a cost-cutting agreement with the paper's management. A tentative deal was reached shortly after 3 a.m. EDT (0700 GMT), the Globe said on its website.

We have completed negotiations with the Guild, Globe spokesman Robert Powers said in a statement.

He said the parties had agreed not to release details until the Guild leadership speaks with members on Thursday, but a report on the Globe website said the union had agreed to a substantial pay cut, unpaid furloughs and modifications to the lifetime job guarantee provisions -- a key sticking point.

The Times Co, which bought the Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993, threatened in early April to close the 137-year-old newspaper unless its unions agree to $20 million of concessions to staunch $85 million of projected losses this year.

The future of New England's largest newspaper has been in doubt during a month of negotiations that have stumbled over the contentious issue of lifetime job guarantees enjoyed by about 190 members of the Guild.

The Guild, representing some 600 workers including the newsroom staff, has sought to preserve lifetime job guarantees, saying their elimination would pave the way for layoffs of some of the paper's highest-paid veteran staff.

(Reporting by Jason Szep and Robert MacMillan, editing by Vicki Allen)