The New York Times (NYT) has caved to the demands of dissident shareholders Harbinger and Firebrand, which collectively own 19%+ of the company’s stock. Specifically, the NYT has agreed to add two dissident board members, Scott Galloway and James Kohlberg, to the slate of board members to be elected this year by the company’s Class A shareholders.
From a control standpoint, this move–like the US vice presidency–“ain’t worth a jar of warm piss,” as the Class B-owning Sulzberger family will still maintain voting control. Also, the NYT agreed to add the dissident nominees in conjunction with increasing the size of the board from 13 to 15, which means the influence of the new board members will be diluted (all of the NYT’s proposed board members will remain on the slate).
Still, Harbinger and Firebrand have bought themselves seats at the board table, which is more than any other non-Sulzberger shareholders have been able to do in recent years. Also, the NYT has essentially already yielded to the dissident shareholder demands, saying at an investment conference last week that the only “sacred” asset at the company is the New York Times itself.
Given that Harbinger, et al, never intended to take over the company completely, therefore, it sounds as though they’re well on the way to accomplishing most of their goals.
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