Is the Times Toast?

The entire newspaper industry currently is suffering, but this article paints an incredibly bleak picture of the financial situation at the New York Times.

Here are the highlights:

Moody’s is clearly worried about the company’s liquidity, giving it a Speculative Grade Liquidity rating SGL-3. The company faces some substantial debts coming due through 2011. Moody’s believes the [Carlos] Slim Money and other sources of cash will cover the 2009 debts, and the majority of a $250 million note coming due in March, 2010. But it has a $400 million debt rollover coming due in June, 2011. To pay that note off, the company will have to scrape together whatever cash it can drag out of its operations, and add money the company hopes to generate by selling (and leasing back) its interest in its headquarters building, and selling its interest in the Boston Red Sox, the New England newspapers, and perhaps — its last salable asset — the group. Plainly, the game is survival now.

How cool would it be if Rupert Murdoch swooped in and purchased the Times and then cleaned house? Okay, that will never happen. But it’s a nice thought.

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