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Why The New York Times Company Stock Soared 28% in February

By Joe Tenebruso – Updated Apr 12, 2019 at 10:19AM

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The venerable newspaper's digital transition is progressing nicely.

What happened

Shares of The New York Times Company (NYT -0.16%) surged nearly 30% last month, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, following the media company's strong fourth-quarter results.

So what

The New York Times' fourth-quarter revenue rose 3.8%, to $502.7 million, besting Wall Street's expectations for $477.1 million. The company's adjusted earnings per share of $0.32 also exceeded analysts' estimates, which had called for $0.28 in earnings per share (EPS). 

Importantly, the New York Times continues to grow its digital business at a solid clip. The Times added 265,000 net new digital-only subscriptions in the fourth quarter. As my colleague Asit Sharma notes, that marked the largest subscriber gain since the quarter following the 2016 presidential election.

In turn, digital-subscription sales increased 9.3%, to $105.3 million, while digital ad sales jumped 22.8%, to $103.4 million. 

Check out the latest earnings call transcript for The New York Times Company.

A man reading a newspaper and a woman reading on a tablet computer.

The New York Times Company is adding digital subscribers at a rapid clip. Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

These strong results prompted CEO Mark Thompson to announce a new long-term goal of more than doubling its total subscriber count from 4.3 million to 10 million by 2025. Investors cheered this new aggressive growth target, and the stock is now up a staggering 50% in 2019. 

These impressive gains highlight the Times' ability to withstand the decline of its print business, as well as the company's successful transition to digitally delivered subscriptions -- something many skeptics thought to be impossible just a few years ago.

Joe Tenebruso has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends The New York Times. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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