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New York Times stock tumbles on weak ad sales

October 25, 2012: 4:45 PM ET

Click the chart to check the New York Times Company's stock.

The New York Times Company's stock plummeted Thursday, after the company reported a surprise third-quarter loss, driven by a 9% decline in advertising revenue.

Print ad revenue sank more than 10%, while digital ad sales fell 2% "largely due to the challenging economic environment," and a "complex and fragmented digital advertising marketplace," the company said, adding that it expects the trend to continue during the fourth quarter.

The weakness in ad sales resulted in a 0.6% decline in overall revenue, and a quarterly loss of 1 cent per share, well below forecasts for a profit of 8 cents per share.

Shares of New York Times Co. (NYT) fell nearly 22%.

Meanwhile, on a conference call with analysts, chairman Arthur Sulzberger, said that he continues to support incoming Times CEO Mark Thompson.

Thompson, who begins his new role next month, previously served as the head of the British Broadcasting Corp., which has come under fire amid claims of sexual abuse by the late Jimmy Savile, a former TV host at the BBC. The network's reputation is also being questioned about reports that a BBC news program investigating the sexual abuse allegations was shelved.

"Mark has provided a detailed account of the matter and I am satisfied that he played no role in the cancellation of that segment," said Sulzberger, adding that Thompson remains the "ideal person" to lead the company.

Earlier this week, the public editor of The New York Times, Margaret Sullivan, wrote that the scandal is enough for the company to think about the baggage Thompson would be bringing to New York.

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