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Sulzberger: dividend suspension “a difficult but prudent measure”

Arthur Sulzberger Jr, chairman of family-controlled New York Times Company, has defended the decision of the board to suspend its quarterly dividend.

The suspension applies to both the media giant's Class A and Class B common stock and will put further pressure on the extended family who rely on such dividends. Last November, the company reduced the payout level of its fourth-quarter dividend to $.06 per from $.23 per share.

"Today's decision provides the company with additional financial flexibility given the current economic environment and the uncertain business outlook," said Sulzberger Jr.

"We have taken decisive steps to reduce capital spending, lower operating costs and re-evaluate our assets. We expect the suspension of the dividend, coupled with our other actions, will help us decrease debt and improve the liquidity of the company, a difficult but prudent measure in this operating environment."

Last month the company revealed that Carlos Slim Helu had agreed to lend the company $250 million to refinance its existing debt. NYT Co is also exploring the possible sale of its New England Sports Ventures business.

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