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NY Times Upgraded to Outperform

Zacks Equity Research

We recently upgraded our long-term recommendation on The New York Times Company (NYT) to Outperform, mainly on the back of the company’s better-than-expected first-quarter 2012 results.

The company’s first-quarter 2012 earnings of 8 cents a share, handily surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 2 cents, and improved significantly from a break-even in the prior-year quarter.

We remain impressed with the company’s efforts to add diverse revenue streams, which include a circulation pricing model and a pay-and-read model for NYTimes.com, the International Herald Tribune and BostonGlobe.com, to make it less susceptible to the economic conditions.

The company is also on the process of adapting to the changing face of the multiplatform media universe, which includes mobile, social media networks and reader application products in its portfolio.

These strategic moves are paying off well as the quarter reflects favorable response to the digital subscription packages, increase in circulation revenue and fall in attrition rate as subscribers to the New York Times’ print version are able to access content or articles online as well as on all applications of The Times for no additional charge.

On the cost front, the company has been realigning its cost structure, and streamlining its operations to increase efficiencies, which have contributed to improved operating performance.

As a part of its ongoing strategy to completely offload assets that bear no direct relation with the core operations, The New York Times Company divested its remaining stake (210 Class B units) in the Fenway Sports Group in May 2012. The company also completed the sale of Regional Media Group to re-focus on its core newspapers while paying more attention to its online activities.

Keeping pace with our upgraded long-term recommendation, The New York Times Company, which competes with Gannett Company Inc. (GCI), currently retains a Zacks #2 Rank, indicating a short term ‘Buy’ rating on the stock.

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