We've been tracking the declining performance of The New York Times Co. for some time. Today, its stock price closed at $13.26, after dipping into the mid-$12s earlier in the day. The company's market cap now stands at $1.91 billion. With the recent warnings that its stock may be downgraded to "junk" status, management simply had to do something.
Thus, today the Times implemented its latest mishmash by printing the sports section on the back of business, and moving the metro section into the A section. More dramatically, it announced that it is closing its International Herald Tribune site, IHT.com, and folding that international-focused coverage into its main site.
No word yet on whether the print version of the storied Herald-Tribune will suffer a similar fate.
With ad revenue for the Times Co. falling 15.7 percent year over year in August, all of these moves may make sense. Consolidation in a time of falling revenue is logical. What is harder to gauge is just how bad things could get for the Times. With that in mind, perhaps today's most shocking event came from The Motley Fool, which identified the Times as the second worst media stock in the world.
Only the deeply troubled McClatchy Company is in worse shape, according to the Fool. The site's story carries the headline: "Which of These Newspaper Stocks Will Die?" As we've noted throughout the current financial meltdown, the weaknesses inherent in some sectors of the media business could lead to failures every bit as dramatic as the bank failures that have been dominating the news for a month now.
As unimaginable as it may seem, the Times, the "gold standard" for American journalism, may soon be listed on the Endangered Publications List.