The investors looking to shake up the New York Times made their formal pitch today, via a proxy nominating four of their members on the NYT board. The Harbinger group doesn’t offer much in the way of an actual campaign platform, but we’ve detailed the rough outlines of what they want to do here.
The proxy does try to assure NYT shareholders that the outsiders don’t want to blow up, carve up, or in any other way destroy the company — they’re just trying to help the NYT help itself.
The greatest threat to The New York Times is the continued diminution of its business model and destruction of shareholder value, both of which imperil the Company’s ability to invest in and maintain the tradition of journalistic excellence that has made The New York Times one of the most trusted brands in the world.
There is nothing wrong with The New York Times Company that cannot be fixed with what is right with The New York Times. We believe a renewed focus on the core assets and the redeployment of capital to expedite the acquisition of digital assets affords the greatest shareholder appreciation and creates the appropriate platform to compete in today’s media landscape.
Oh, and Sulzbergers? Rest assured: Harbinger and company aren’t trying to wrest your family business away from you, either:
I want to assure you that we are not pursuing a change in the dual class shareholder structure. The New York Times is a great institution controlled by the Sulzberger family and we have no illusion about, or desire to change, that fact. Our efforts are focused on how we can work with management and the Board for the benefit of all stakeholders.
Formalities aside, we’ve been told the Harbinger group thinks their 20% stake in the company will give them the ability to get at least two of their reps on the board. How they’re able to turn that position into something more concrete, we’re still not quite sure about.
See Also: NYT Shake-Up: Update And Plan