In case you missed it, Michael Calderone of the Huffington Post weighed in with a very interesting story Tuesday on turmoil at the New York Times Co. At the top of the list is the $15 million being paid to departing chief executive Janet Robinson, who by all appearances had a falling-out with company chairman Arthur Sulzberger.
No doubt you recall that the Times Co. demanded the Boston Globe’s unions agree to $20 million in givebacks in 2009 as the price of keeping the paper alive. Now Sulzberger has given 75 percent of that money to one person. Yeah, yeah, it’s a one-time expense versus annual savings from the unions, but you get the picture.
The Times Co. this week also followed through on its plan to sell its Regional Newspaper Group, 16 smaller dailies in the South and the West. Media business analyst Ken Doctor tells the Times that the sale price of $143 million was “incredibly low” (indeed: only 9.53 Robinson-size buyout packages), and that the deal buys company executives time to think about whether it wants to keep or sell the Globe.
Following a tumultuous 2008 and ’09, the Times Co. appeared to have achieved some stability, putting its financial house at least somewhat back in order. It looks like that stability may now be coming to an end.