New York Times to Acquire Sports Site Athletic for $ 550 Million

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The New York Times building is seen in Manhattan, New York, United States on August 3, 2020. REUTERS / Shannon Stapleton / File Photo

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Jan. 6 (Reuters) – The New York Times Co (NYT.N) said on Thursday it had agreed to buy subscription-based sports site Athletic for $ 550 million in cash, as the 170-year-old newspaper adds more content digital to grab subscribers.

Founded in 2016, Athletic had 1.2 million subscribers as of December and covers more than 200 clubs and teams in the United States and around the world.

“The acquisition of Athletic positions us to be a world leader in sports journalism,” said Meredith Kopit Levien, CEO of NYT.

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The deal shows the NYT’s push towards a subscription-first model, which has become a growing trend in the media industry, as the newspaper grapples with a sharp decline in advertising and print readership.

Over the past three years, the company said it has added more than eight million paid subscriptions to digital and print products.

“We are now pursuing a target of well over 10 million subscriptions and believe that Athletic will allow us to expand our addressable market of potential subscribers,” added Levien.

The deal is expected to immediately contribute to the newspaper’s revenue growth and have a dilutive effect on its operating income for about three years.

Athletic will operate as a separate unit of the company and its founders, Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann, will remain with the NYT after the acquisition.

Allen & Company advised the NYT on the matter, while The Athletic was advised by LionTree Advisors.

Information first reported the deal on Thursday. NYT shares closed up 4.7% at $ 47.82.

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Report by Chavi Mehta in Bangalore; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Devika Syamnath and Shailesh Kuber

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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