At New York Times, profit rises, CEO search drags on

NEW YORK, Thu Apr 19, 2012 — New York Times Co. investors brushed past the company’s drop in print and digital ad revenue during the first quarter, focusing instead on a better-than-expected profit and the hope it would be returned to shareholders.

With $431 million of cash, Evercore Partners analyst Doug Arthur said The New York Times should initiate a dividend.

“They have to be the only company with this much cash not paying a dividend,” he said.

The New York Times suspended its dividend in 2009.

The company has been searching for a chief executive since Janet Robinson stepped down at the end of last year and received a total payout of $24 million.

New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has been serving as CEO for the last four months and deflected suggestions he might take the position permanently.

“I have no doubt that we will find the right candidate and I’m looking forward to that,” he said on a call with analysts on Thursday. “We will take the time necessary to find the right person for the role.”

The New York Times’ shares rose 5.5 percent in afternoon trading as the company reported adjusted first-quarter earnings per share of 8 cents, blowing past analysts’ estimates of 2 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.