The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) is offering some former employees the option to receive their pension benefits in a single lump-sum payment, as the company tries to cut pension costs to improve its financial health. These former employees will also have the option of receiving a reduced annuity. Costs from the implementation of this plan will be reflected in the company's fourth-quarter results.

The move is one of several the publisher has taken to improve its balance sheet. Shedding noncore assets, the company announced in August that it would sell its informational website to IAC Interactive for $300 million cash.

The New York Times Co. has struggled in recent years, seeing revenue decrease markedly as fewer people pay for print subscriptions. Sales have gone from $3.2 billion in 2007 to just over $2.3 billion in 2011, decreasing each year.

The pension obligations eligible for prepayment represent about 15% of the nearly $2 billion in pension liabilities the company had as of 2011.

Fool contributor John Divine owns no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on Twitter @divinebizkid and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFDivine.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.