The New York Times Company is to take full control of the International Herald Tribune, the overseas newspaper it co-owns with the Washington Post Company.

The two parties have signed a letter of intent under which NYTC will purchase the 50% stake held by WPC. Although terms have not been disclosed, the price is estimated at around $70 million (€71.7m; £45.2m). The duo expect to close the deal late this year or early in 2003.

WPC told staff it had made the decision to sell “with great reluctance and sadness – and little choice.” The Times, it said, had threatened to block further support for the IHT and launch an international edition of its own if it did not get its way.

The Post and the Times – which supply IHT with content – have invested in the paper since the 1960s, and took joint control in 1991. However, the paper’s goal of bringing a US perspective to American expatriates and tourists has been undermined by the success of its owners’ websites.

NYTC’s eagerness to get hold of IHT is thought to herald significant expansion outside the US, as the company seeks to build an international brand.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff