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New York Times mulls stock for employees in possible Net IPO

The media company is mulling an IPO for its Internet unit, Times Company Digital, and may allow all employees to buy stock in the unit at the IPO price in any potential offering.

The New York Times Company, publisher of the New York Times and the Boston Globe, is considering an initial public offering of its Internet division, Times Company Digital.

As previously reported, the company has been considering an IPO for the recently created unit since May. While the company has not made a final decision on any offering, it will offer stocks to all Times employees--not just those in the Internet unit, according to a recent internal company memo.

The media and broadcasting giant is yet another old-guard company looking to benefit from enormous growth on the Internet, with an IPO as icing on the cake. In May, the Tribune Company, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, said it was creating Tribune Interactive, which it would consider spinning off.

In the memo obtained by CNET that was emailed to all New York Times employees, chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. wrote that the company is considering allowing all employees to benefit from any windfall from its spin-off.

"It's important that everyone throughout the Times Company feels personally involved in the success of our newest line of business," wrote Sulzberger, adding that there has been much speculation about whether the company would go public but no decision on such a move.

"What I can tell you is that if we do launch a new company we will offer our employees the ability to invest in the new enterprise," Sulzberger wrote.

The Times is considering a "Friend of [Times Company Digital]" stock purchase program that will allow employees to buy a set amount of stock at the IPO price.

Times Company Digital brings together the company's nearly 50 Web sites, including the New York Times,, New York Today, and Wine Today.

The company previously said that revenues from new media properties operated by the New York Times Company are expected to be between $24 million and $26 million in 1999.