Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Cash-Strapped New York Times Wants to Borrow Against Its HQ: Anyone Want to Lend It $225 Million?

The New York Times is running low on cash but has a $400 million debt payment due next spring. How to foot the bill? Raise money anywhere it can.

Last month, the Times cut its dividend, a move that could save it up to $100 million a year. Now the paper is looking to borrow against its new Manhattan headquarters. It has hired a real estate firm to raise up to $225 million using the value of the building as collateral. The company is looking at either a sale-leaseback or a mortgage, reports…the New York Times (NYT).

The Times doesn’t actually own the entire structure–it owns 58 percent, and Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Ratner owns the remainder–but the value of the Times’s share has been previously estimated in the $850 million to $1 billion range. It’s not clear whether the Times now thinks the building is worth much, much less than it did a year ago, or if it’s not looking to borrow against the total value of its property. UPDATE: From the NYT’s Catherine Mathis: “We may borrow up to $225 million. That’s not the market value of the building.”

Executive Editor Bill Keller has told the staff that he’ll try very hard not to fire anyone else at paper. We hope this works out, though other people we know have concluded that the paper must make significant cuts. Other less, painful steps the paper can make to save or raise money: Sell either the Boston Globe and/or its stake in the Boston Red Sox.

But what the Times really needs is for advertisers to start spending more money on digital advertising as they cut back on print ads. And that, sadly, isn’t something the paper can control.


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