Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Gray Lady's not dead, she's just restin'

If there's an upside to the stock market meltdown (formerly known as Obama's "Age of Plenty") it comes in the form of devastating news for the New York Times.

QandO points us to a shocking analysis of the Times' balance sheet.

What NYTCo. has:
• $46 million of cash
• $366 million owed to it by advertisers
Total: $412 million

What NYTCo. owes:
• $398 million of short-term debt (due in May)
• $161 million of accounts payable (newsprint, travel, etc.)
• $100 million of payroll (salaries)
• $159 million of other expenses
• $50 million owed on long-term debt and rent
Total: $865 million

Bottom line, short term: NYTCo. owes $453 million more than it has.

Worse yet, total advertising revenue for the newspaper industry -- of which the Times is a bellwether -- was expected to drop 11.5% this year. It could be decidedely worse given the current state of affairs.

To add insult to injury, The American Thinker's Ed Lasky spotted a spate of short-sellers seemingly placing bets against the very survival of the Times.

Bloomberg publishes a list (for subscribers) of the top companies with largest percentage of shares sold short. The New York Times Company is currently number thirteen, with 17.5% of the shares sold short. This means that these investors are betting that the shares will continue to slide. No other media companies appear on the top 60 list.

Perhaps Executive Editor Bill Keller should rehearse his next public statement: "Would you like to super-size that value meal?"

Hat tip: Larwyn. Linked by: Tim Blair. Thanks!

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