New York Times Co. shares edged slightly higher in premarket trade Wednesday, after the newspaper group beat earnings estimates for the first quarter and offered upbeat guidance for the second quarter. The company posted net income of $41.1 million, or $24 cents a share, for the quarter, up from $32.9 million, or 20 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 26 cents, more than double the 12 cents FactSet consensus. Revenue climbed 6.6% to $473 million from $443.6 million, also ahead of the $461.0 million FactSet consensus. “The Times finished the first quarter with more than 7.8 million paid subscriptions across our digital and print products, more than 100 million registered users, and an average weekly audience of 76 million readers,” Chief Executive Meredith Kopit Levien said in a statement. Subscription revenue rose 15.3% to $329.1 million, ad revenue fell 8.5% to $97.1 million and other revenue fell 10% to $46.8 million. Revenue from digital-only products rose 38.1% to $179.6 million. The company is expected total subscription revenue to rise about 15% in the second quarter and for digital-only subscription revenue to rise about 30%. Ad revenue is expected to grow 55% to 60%, while digital ad revenue is expected to climb 70% to 75%, boosted by weak comparisons in the first quarter of 2020 as the pandemic began to hurt ad spending. Shares have fallen 13% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 10.9%.

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