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Tampa Bay Times takes $28 million loan

Published:   |   Updated: January 17, 2014 at 05:55 PM

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The Times Publishing Company, which produces the Tampa Bay Times newspaper, took out a $28 million loan in early December, backed by the company’s headquarters building and other property, according to public records filed with the Pinellas County Clerk.

On the same day, the Times paid off a $13 million mortgage from C1 Bank. Times officials confirmed statements by their executives that the new loan was being used to refinance existing debt and to help grow the business.

The new loan matures in 2016 and was provided by Boston-based Crystal Financial LLC, which specializes in “making loans to companies who require more debt capital than is currently made available from traditional lenders,” according to its investment profile.

Crystal also was involved in financing the purchase of the Orange County Register newspaper by a group of entrepreneurs and former media executives, a $37.1 million loan for the purchase of 14 daily papers from the New York Times Regional Media Group by Halifax Media Group, and $38.9 million in various loans for a refinancing of the grocery chain Piggly Wiggly Holdings LLC.

Officials with the Times declined to comment on the transaction beyond what was in public records, and officials with Crystal could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Despite reporting the largest circulation among state newspapers, the Times has struggled financially recently. The non-profit Poynter Institute for Media Studies — the legal owner of the paper — has posted several years of multi-million dollar losses, put several pieces of its property up for sale, and recently started a new fundraising drive as it said financial support from the paper was no longer “viable.”

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