Nifco Inc agreed Monday to sell all shares in its wholly owned English-language newspaper company The Japan Times Ltd to Tokyo-based public relations firm News2u Holdings Inc by the end of June.
Nifco is selling the daily for an undisclosed sum to focus on its core plastic automotive parts business. News2u, which distributes corporate news online, said that through the acquisition it hopes to “utilize our know-how in digital platforms and our group’s customer base to make The Japan Times fitter for the digital age.”
The publication of the newspaper is expected to continue under News2u. A News2u official said the company is not ready to announce any changes in the management of The Japan Times, but that the newspaper’s some 120 employees are expected to stay on.
Established in 1897, The Japan Times is the country’s oldest running English-language daily with a circulation of over 40,000 copies. In addition to publishing news articles in print and online, the daily also publishes books and a magazine.
Sales in recent years have fallen to half of their peak of about 5 billion yen ($45.3 million) due to a shrinking readership as more people get their news online, according to an official of Nifco, which made the newspaper its subsidiary in 1996.
News2u was founded in 2001 as an online corporate press release provider. In a statement on Monday, the company said that by tapping into The Japan Times’ know-how, it will develop an overseas information dispatch service for its corporate clients.
The Japan Times, which jointly publishes an English-language newspaper with The New York Times Co, is one of more than 50 news organizations that together finance Kyodo News, a nonprofit cooperative, with membership dues.