(USATODAY.com) - The New York Times Co. is going all-in on the Grey Lady.
The company said Wednesday that it plans to sellThe Boston Globe and related properties, continuing its strategy of shedding non-core assets and limiting exposure to the declining print advertising business.
The principal properties for sale - housed in the company's New England Media Group - also include BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Telegram.com and direct mail firm GlobeDirect. New York Times' 49% stake inMetro Boston, a free daily newspaper, is also up for sale.
The plan "demonstrates our commitment to concentrate our strategic focus and investment onThe New York Times brand and its journalism," said Mark Thompson, CEO of The New York Times Co. "Given the differences between these businesses and The New York Times, we believe that a sale is in the best long-term interests of these properties and the employees who work for them."
The company has hired Evercore Partners, an investment bank founded by former deputy Treasury secretary Roger Altman, to advise the sale.
New York Times Co. has been shrinking its exposure to the print business in recent years. It sold its regional newspaper unit -- which consisted of 16 newspapers, including The Gainesville Sun and The Sarasota Herald Tribune in Florida and The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif. -- in 2011 to Halifax Media Holdings for $143 million.
New York Times' advertising revenue fell 3.1% in the fourth quarter, with a 5.6% drop in print advertising offset by a 5.1% gain in digital advertising.
Paid digital subscribers to BostonGlobe.com, The Globe's e-readers and other digital editions totaled about 28,000 as of the end of the fourth quarter, were up about 8% from three months earlier.
The Globe is the 23rd-largest newspaper in the U.S. as of September 2012, according to Alliance for Audited Media. Its total average circulation rose 12% from a year earlier to 230,000.
The New York Times Co. bought the Boston Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993.
Several small newspapers have been bought recently by investors, such as Warren Buffett, who see growth opportunities in local advertising. But large metro dailies have been tougher to operate - and sell - for media owners, says Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst for the Poynter Institute. "Competition for audience is tough if you're (a daily) in Washington, D.C. vs. Greensboro, N.C. That doesn't mean no one wants big papers. Recently, most papers that come on (for sale) do get sold."
Several large newspapers are on the block or undergoing restructuring. News Corp. said it'll spin-off its print business, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, as a separate company later this year.
Tribune Co., which emerged from bankruptcy reorganization in December, is working with investment bankers to sell its eight newspapers, including the Chicago Tribuneand the Los Angeles Times, according to Bloomberg News.