Blog Post

New York Times Raises $45 Million With Sale Of WQXR-FM

The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) continues to pare its assets, this time with the sale of New York City classical music radio station WQXR-FM. In the complicated deal, which totals $45 million, Univision Radio will pay $33.5 million to swap its FCC 105.9 FM broadcast license and transmitting equipment for NYTCo’s license, equipment and stronger signal at 96.3 FM so it can move its WCAA Spanish-language station to the stronger signal. Then, public radio station WNYC will pay $11.5 million for the 105.9 FM license, transmitting equipment and the WQXR call letters and website.

Univision Radio will retain the WCAA call letters, while WNYC promises to maintain WQXR as “a listener-supported public station dedicated to classical music” — but with a weaker signal. NYTCo says the signal will still reach the “vast majority” of the station’s listeners. WYNC is raising money for the acquisition. The transactions require FCC approval but are expected to close later this year. The company acquired WQXR in 1944, selling the AM station for $40 million to Radio Disney (NYSE: DIS) in 2007.

Assets for sale: NYTCo is in the midst of a well-publicized fundraising effort of its own, although not quite the NPR kind. Assets formally being shopped now include the Boston Globe, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and its 17.75 percent stake in New England Sports Ventures, LLC (the company that owns the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park and regional sports net NESN). Earlier this year, the company raised $225 million in a sale-leaseback deal for part of its Times Square corporate headquarters and $250 million from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu.

Proceeds will go towards debt: In a memo to staff distributed after the sale was announced (via, NYTCo Chairman Arthur Sulzberger and President Janet Robinson said they “plan to use the proceeds from divestitures, such as WQXR and the potential sale of our interest in the Boston Red Sox, to bring our debt level down even more.”