The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:New York Times, Evercore Partners, InterActiveCorp, Washington Post Co. and Xerox

CHICAGO, Feb. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT), Evercore Partners Inc. (NYSE: EVR), InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI), The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) and Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

NY Times to Shed Boston Globe

In order to focus more on its core businesses, The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) intends to sell its New England Media Group, including The Boston Globe and its allied properties.

The news comes at a time when most of the publishing companies are offloading assets that bear no direct relation with their core operations. The publishing industry has been struggling with sinking advertising revenues as more readers are gradually choosing free online news, thereby making the print-advertising model increasingly irrelevant.

The New England Media Group, which consists of The Boston Globe, BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com, Telegram.com, Worcester Telegram & Gazette and GlobeDirect, generated total revenue of $394.7 million in 2012, down approximately 1% year over year.

The New York Times engaged Evercore Partners Inc. (NYSE: EVR) as the advisor to guide the company during the evaluation period.

Last September, the company, which holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) completed the sale of About Group, which it acquired in 2005, to InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI) for a consideration of $300 million. Moreover, in May 2012, the company divested its remaining stake (210 Class B units) in the Fenway Sports Group, the owner of the Boston Red Sox and the Liverpool Football Club, for $63 million.

The company in Dec 2011 sold the Regional Media Group – consisting of 16 regional newspapers, print publications and associated ventures – to Halifax Media Holdings LLC, the proprietor of The Daytona-Beach News Journal in Florida, for approximately $143 million.

Recently, another publishing company, The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) entered into a deal to sell its daily and Sunday newspaper, The Herald, to Black Press Ltd. and its subsidiary, Sound Publishing.

We believe such moves allow the publishing companies to re-focus on their core newspapers and pay more attention to online activities, which is gradually gaining pace. The decision to offload the non-core divisions is also considered as part of the cost containment efforts undertaken to stay afloat in this turbulent environment.

Xerox Hikes Dividend Payout

Business process and document management company Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX) recently announced a 35% year-over-year hike in its dividend payout to a quarterly payment of 5.75 cents per share or 23 cents on an annualized basis. The first quarter 2013 dividend is payable on Apr 30 to shareholders of record as of Mar 28.

Based on the closing price of $7.86 on Feb 20, 2013, the proposed dividend affirms a yield of 2.9%. A steady dividend payout is a part of the long-term strategy of Xerox to provide attractive risk-adjusted returns to its stockholders.

The company also has a share repurchase program in place, under which it repurchased shares worth $1.05 billion in 2012. Xerox has consistently returned significant cash to its shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. In 2013, the company intends to have similar share repurchase levels as in the previous year.

The recent dividend hike follows the strong quarterly results that helped the company to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimates. The company also has a healthy liquidity position. Cash and cash equivalents aggregated $1.2 billion at year-end 2012, while free cash flow for the year was $2.1 billion.

Headquartered in Norwalk, CT, Xerox is a leader in the development, manufacture, marketing, servicing and financing of document equipment across the world. The company also provides extensive leading-edge document technology, services, software and genuine Xerox supplies for graphic communication and office printing environments of any size.

The company has three segments – Technology, Services and Others. Xerox is looking forward to expanding its offerings through inorganic measures and new acquisitions, which in turn, will help it to add more clients to its portfolio.

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