The New York Times Co. will sell its 16 regional newspapers and related businesses to Halifax Media Holdings LLC for $143 million, the company said yesterday.
The sale is part of a broader strategy to become a more digitally focused media outlet. The transaction is expected to close in a few weeks and net proceeds, including a tax benefit, are expected to be $150 million. The Boston Globe and the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester were not part of the sale.
Founded in 2010, Halifax owns the Daytona Beach News-Journal and is headquartered in that Florida city. The purchase will give it ownership of several other Florida newspapers as well as others across the South and in California. Included in the transaction are the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Fla.; the Star-News in Wilmington, N.C.; and the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif.
Ken Doctor, a media analyst at Outsell Inc., said the sales would allow the Times Co. to focus on its flagship brand, The New York Times, and decide what it wants to do with The Boston Globe.
Doctor called the sale price “incredibly low.’’
“That’s saying basically each title is worth about $10 million,’’ on average, he said, “which is just breathtaking when you consider what kinds of profit machines these newspapers used to be.’’
Under the Times Co., papers in the regional group won three Pulitzer Prizes, including the 2011 prize for investigative reporting, for the Sarasota paper’s series on difficulties residents had with Florida’s property insurance system.
“These news organizations have served as trusted institutions in their communities, delivering news and information that matter most to their readers,’’ said Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Times Co. chairman. “The sale of our Regional Media Group will enable The New York Times Company to continue our transformation to a digitally focused, multiplatform media company.’’
Halifax’s chief executive, Michael Redding, said in a statement that the company sees the papers as a good investment because of their strong local coverage. “We have been impressed with the newspapers’ reputations as well as the markets they serve,’’ he said. “When you have the opportunity to purchase solid news products located in great markets, it is very compelling.’’