The New York Times Co. is ending its Employee Stock Purchase Plan, where employees could buy company stock at a discount. Nobody wanted to buy that crappy stock, apparently! And with good reason. The email that just went out to staffers is below.

Date: Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 11:04 AM
Subject: A Message from Todd McCarty about Employee Stock Purchase Plan

Dear Colleague,

For many years, the Company offered our employees an opportunity to purchase stock in The Times Company at a discount. After a careful review of the program and other Company benefits earlier this year, we have decided that there will not be a 2011 offering of the Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP).

Let me explain the background. As you know, the current economic environment presents businesses with many challenges. One of those is ensuring that the package of Company-offered benefits we provide our employees is consistent with our business objectives, while delivering each of you the most bang for the buck.

In the case of the ESPP, participation among employees is very low - less than 10 percent. Meanwhile, the expense to carry the plan on our books for such a small number of employees has grown.

Given the fact that so few people are participating in the plan, we have concluded there are better ways to invest our benefit dollars. As a result, management recommended the Company not have a 2011 offering under the ESPP and our Board of Directors approved that recommendation.

Our Company is not alone in this decision. Over the past couple of years, not surprisingly, many organizations have forgone these types of plans. In fact, a national employee benefits database, with a broad range of industries, shows that less than 25% of employers offer an ESPP currently.

As the economy evolves, we will monitor the marketplace and explore ways to continue to deliver valuable benefits to our employees.

Thank you,

Todd C. McCarty
Senior Vice President, Human Resources