The New York Times has announced that it will sell its Regional Media Group to Florida-based Halifax Media Holdings, LLC for $143 million in cash. The Regional Media Group consists of 16 regional newspapers including titles like the News Chief of Winter Haven, Florida and Thibodaux, Louisiana’s Daily Comet. The back-of-the-envelope math suggests that each paper is worth just shy of $9 million apiece, or about two years of consulting work from outgoing Times CEO Janet Robinson.
The Times has owned some of the Regional newspapers since 1971, when it bought the Lakeland, FL Ledger, Wilmington NC Star-Banner, and Gainesville Sun. Its most recent purchase was the News Chief, in 2008. Halifax is also picking up some prestige with The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, which won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.
News of this move first leaked out last week, when Halifax accidentally published the news on its website. Media critic Jim Romenesko, who caught the screengrab that spilled the beans, also snagged a memo sent to employees of the Regional Media Group from the Times brass. Main takeaway from the memo? Regional employees should know within 48 hours whether or not Halifax will continue to offer them employment.