The New York Times Co. said it is close to selling its regional newspapers to Daytona Beach-based Halifax Media Group, which owns the Daytona-Beach News Journal newspaper, the company announced Monday.
The New York Times Co.'s Regional Media Group consists of 16 newspapers and related websites.
The company's regional newspapers, which include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Gainesville Sun, accounted for 11 percent of the company's $2.4 billion in revenue in 2010. Combined, the local papers have a Monday-to-Friday circulation of 433,251 and 1,755 full-time employees.
The company's Boston Globe and Boston.com website have endured buyouts and staff reductions to cut budgets, but they are not among the regional news organizations being sold.
Even as optimism for the digital plan at the New York Times newspaper has grown, the regional publications have dragged, the steady decline driven by a lack of classified ads and a migration of readers to the Web.
From 2008 to 2009, advertising revenue at the Regional Media Group fell 30.2 percent to $193 million. Ad revenue fell an additional 8.2 percent in 2010 to $177 million, according to the company's 2010 annual report. Classified ads make up 28 percent of the advertisements in the New York Times Co.'s regional papers.
Besides the Daytona-Beach News Journal, Halifax Media Group owns five other news organizations in Florida and other newspapers across the South. On Monday morning, the Halifax Group's website listed all of the New York Times Co.'s regional papers as its own, tipping off the media blogger Jim Romenesko.
The Times Company, which on Thursday announced the departure of Janet L. Robinson, who had served as chief executive since 2004, has divested itself of assets as it tries to focus on its anchor newspapers, the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the International Herald Tribune.
In July, the company sold more than half of its stake in the Fenway Sports Group, the owner of the Boston Red Sox, for $117 million.