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The parent company of The Boston Globe confirmed for the first time Thursday that it is looking into a sale of the financially struggling newspaper.
The New York Times Co. disclosed in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has retained Goldman, Sachs & Co. to explore a potential sale of its New England Media Group, which also includes the Globe's web site, Boston.com, and the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester.
The Times Co. said in the filing that the businesses had been severely impacted by the "secular and cyclical forces affecting the media industry."
It also cited the Times Co.'s strategic plan for lowering costs, which included negotiations that secured $20 million in concessions from Globe unions, as well as consolidation of printing facilities and increased circulation prices.
It had been widely presumed for weeks that the Globe may be on the block, and the newspaper reported last Friday that two Boston groups had submitted preliminary bids.
Citing unnamed people with knowledge of the offers, the Globe said one bid was submitted by a group led by Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca and former advertising mogul Jack Connors. The other group was headed by Stephen Taylor, a former Globe executive and member of the family that sold the Globe to the Times Co. for $1.1 billion in 1993.
Globe Publisher Steve Ainsley assured staff in a memo Thursday that top executives of the Times Co. continue to hold the newspaper in the highest regard, and he urged employees not to be distracted by a possible ownership change.
"I'm confident that despite the likely uncertainty brought by a potential change in ownership we will continue to meet the high standards of performance we have set for ourselves," Ainsley wrote.
The Globe lost $50 million in 2008, and the Times Co. has said it was on track to lose $85 million this year before workers agreed to concessions.
This program aired on August 6, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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