The company lost $75 million in the first quarter, which works out to 52 cents per share. Newspaper analysts, who are evidently eternal optimists, had reckoned that the company would lose four cents per share.
Only off by a factor of thirteen!
Ad revenue fell by 27%, a loss of more than $120 million compared to last year. In the News Media group, revenues were down 19%, and advertising fell more than 28%. In that group, internet ad revenues fell 8%, meaning all hope for a sunny, Jetsons-like future where newspaper robots save the day is lost. And don't forget that the company just borrowed a quarter-billion dollars from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim at a 14% interest rate. If they can't pay him back, he could theoretically take over the company! Patriotic Americans won't let that happen, but the fact that we're even bringing it up is an indication of how bad things are. Now let's go to CEO Janet Robinson's dreary quote:
"At this time, and it is early in the quarter, we believe the rate of decline in ad revenues in the second quarter will be similar to that of the first. In time, however, we believe that the economy will grow and the advertising market will improve. While we are looking forward to that day, we are not waiting for it. "
SCARY ADDITIONAL NOTE: Henry Blodget does some quick calculations of the NYT Co's cash burn rate and their remaining borrowing capacity, and figures that the company has four quarters—one year—until they've maxed out their borrowing capacity and run out of cash. At which point, the Carlos Slim takeover could become much more real. Skeery.