Looking to focus on the Web rather than on television, New York Times Co. is exercising an option to sell its half interest in cable network Discovery Times to partner Discovery Communications.
The well-respected news and documentary network never generated big ratings. NYT Co. spent $100 million in 2002 to buy into what was then known as Discovery Civilization. It hoped to expand its TV production unit to provide an outlet for some small-scale projects the newspaper publisher had in mind.
But along with other newspaper publishers, NYT Co. faces a dramatically shrinking print market, and company executives want cash to reinvest in their online efforts.
An outside appraiser will set the price Discovery must pay the newspaper company, but it will be no lower than $80 million and no higher than $135 million. Discovery Times hopes to keep the channel name temporarily and work with the Times on other projects.