News is money!

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What’s the idea with The New York Times?

Over time, The New York Times Corporation has borrowed $1.1B to help fund its money making efforts and the notes are coming due.  From the funding of internet property About.com to investment in the Boston Red Sox baseball team to ownership and leasing of a brand new building in New York City’s Times Square, the management of this glorious news corporation through lack of focus has allowed itself to falter. With a cash infusion of $250 million from Mexican mogul Carlos Slim Helu – talk about angel investors – the Times Corp. may live to see another day.

I wonder how many senior Times executives looked at Samuel Zell’s purchase of the Tribune Company and foresaw that crash and burn. I’ll bet many. Yet did they not see what was happening to their own organization?  This lack of focus and defined business objective should have been obvious to any good financial reporter. 

By managing so many different and diffuse businesses, the Times Corp. took its eye off the real prize: Become the world’s best, most ubiquitous news organization — enabled by the Web. Warren Buffet would agree that news is money. The Times has so far missed the opportunity. Peace!