After his improbable takeover of the Wall Street Journal, the legendary newspaperman Rupert Murdoch (NWS) still wants to buy not only Merrill Lynch’s stake in Bloomberg, but Arthur Sulzberger’s New York Times (NYT). So says Michael Wolff’s article in the October issue of Vanity Fair:
He is spending time now in consideration of an even more far-fetched fantasy, The New York Times: he’d really like to own it too. Now, everybody around him continues to tell him that buying the Times is pretty much impossible. There will be regulatory problems. The Sulzberger family would never … And then there’s the opprobrium of public opinion.
But it’s obviously irresistible to him. I’ve watched him go through the numbers, plot out a merger with the Journal’s backroom operations, and fantasize about the staff’s quitting en masse as soon as he entered the sacred temple. It would be sweet revenge—because the Times for so long has made him the bogeyman and vulgarian. And wonderful to own not just one of America’s most important papers but both (he believes in monopolies). And the realisation of his destiny: because the Times represents the ultimate in newspaper proprietorship—when he was 19, he and his father, the most successful newspaper executive in Australia, made a pilgrimage to Hillandale, the Sulzberger family home in Connecticut—and he believes he is the ultimate newspaper proprietor.
Once a impossible dream, the idea of buying the New York Times becomes more sane all the time. The company’s business and stock price are collapsing, and although the ownership structure prevents a hostile takeover, there’s nothing to prevent a friendly one.
The New York Times won’t get through this crisis via cost-cutting alone, and, at some point, someone other than Silicon Alley Media will make an offer for all or part of the business that would provide shareholders with a fantastic premium. The resulting pressure from shareholders and the board will test Mr. Sulzberger’s resolve.
See Also: Our Offer For the New York Times Company
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