Donald Trump wants The New York Times

Can the billionaire buy his way into ownership of the respected newspaper company?

By Jonathan Berr Jan 23, 2013 4:11PM
Credit: Donna Ward/Getty Images
Caption: Donald Trump leaves 'The Late Show with David Letterman' at Ed Sullivan Theater on October 25, 2012Billionaire Donald Trump wants it known that he really, really wants to buy The New York Times (NYT) even though the paper is not for sale -- and even if it were, the Sulzberger family, which has owned it for more than a century, probably would never sell it to him in a billion years.
"I have watched Mr. Trump over the years navigate much tougher acquisitions," writes Michael Cohen, a Trump spokesman. "Mr. Trump is so smart and so rich that if he wants it, he will get it. If Mr. Trump elects to purchase the NY Times, commits his time and resources, there is nothing he can’t do."

Shares of the company, which also owns the Boston Globe, were barely budging on the news, indicating that Wall Street isn't holding its breath for a deal to happen. A spokesperson for the Times couldn't immediately be reached.

It's unclear exactly how much progress, if any, Trump has made in buying the newspaper company. New York magazine, which broke the story, says "Trump has engaged in more than one meeting to discuss how he might buy the Grey Lady." If Trump does make a credible offer for the paper, the company's board of directors would have a fiduciary duty to consider it.

Trump has had a contentious relationship with the company's flagship newspaper for years. In 2011, he lost a libel case against Tim O'Brien, a former reporter and editor for the paper, who argued in a book that the 56-year-old wasn't really a billionaire. O'Brien, now with The Huffington Post, couldn't immediately be reached. Many at the paper, including columnist Gail Collins, have mocked Trump's claims that President Obama may not have been born in the United States.

If Trump is successful -- and that's a big if -- he would have a tough time convincing employees and advertisers that he wouldn't use the paper to promote his own political agenda. In fact, some newspapers around the country have been snapped up by wealthy business owners with their own motives. Real-estate developer Doug Manchester, for example, bought the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2011 and turned the paper into what Media Matters for America calls "a corporate shill."

Trump's interest comes at a tough moment for The New York Times, which has recently offered buyouts to newsroom staff to cut costs as it struggles to reinvent itself in the digital age. The deadline for accepting these offers is Thursday, according to the paper. Wall Street isn't expecting the struggles to end anytime soon. Revenue in the December quarter is expected to fall 11%, according to analysts' estimates. Profit is expected to be 31 cents, down from 45 cents a year earlier. 

Wall Street sees better times ahead for the venerable publisher, whose digital strategy has gained traction. The average 52-week price target on the stock is $9.58. about 10% higher than where it currently trades. Shares of the publisher have surged more than 13% over the past year.

--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks.  Follow him on Twitter @jdberr

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Tags: Wealthy
Jan 23, 2013 7:03PM
Needs to buy a new squirrel for the top of his head.......!
Jan 23, 2013 4:21PM
With what money? Trump only plays a billionaire on TV.
Jan 23, 2013 5:27PM
If he had the Times then he push his "BIRTHER" mentality.
Jan 23, 2013 5:28PM
Donald probably has no desire to own this rag.  He's been out of the limelight for a couple of months, and now everyone is talking about him again.
Jan 23, 2013 4:55PM
Trump - the P T Barnum of our time, but he isn't as good.  Trump is just another wealthy right wing blowhard.  Although he went bankrupt at least twice, but was BAILED OUT by the banks.  What he can't stand, just like most super wealthy people, is those who have a different opinion and are willing to take people like him on.  That would be his only motivation to buy the New York Times; to stifle his opposition and in effect to stifle and curtail FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
Jan 23, 2013 7:22PM

Why does the public continue to feed this brats' ego? He says the most ignorant things and makes a mockery of the democratic system yet he still gets air time and press time. Let him slither back under the rock he came from. He is a clown. I want to take this moment to apologize to all clowns,


Jan 23, 2013 7:00PM

Another Rupert Murdoch. I wonder who's phone he will tap first?

Jan 23, 2013 7:21PM
Like many very wealthy before him, they all have their own agenda and motive. Our history is full of the very wealthy buying political favor and pushing their brand of America on the rest. I'd be silly to place Trump in the same sentence as other wealthy moguls from our past, who used their wealth and power to move America. Trump has proven to be less than their peer and more of a loud mouth entertainer with money.
Jan 23, 2013 6:45PM
If Mr. Trump elects to purchase the NY Times, commits his time and resources, there is nothing he can’t do."
 That is the most stupid statement I've ever heard.  Sounds to me like Mr. Trump has already bought Michael Cohen.  The statement "there is nothing He can't do" only appies to ONE and that one is GOD.  Now, Michael and Mr. Trump, I'm not weathy and I hardly have a dollar to my name.  But, I have something NEITER or you can buy!!!  Integrity!! I was once told by a woman she "could get into ANY man's pants!"  Had she not said "any," I would have agreed with her.  But, when she said "any" I replied to her with "you can't get into this man's pants."  That has been years ago and that discussion never came up again.  There are things Donald Trump's money cannot buy.
Jan 23, 2013 5:27PM
It's called an aggressive takeover.  When you hold 51% of the stock, you effectively own the company.  He has the drive and the $$ to do it if he wants.
Jan 23, 2013 7:07PM
Just what we need, another 'Fox entertainment' um, I mean news.  blow hard..why don't you just start your own paper and put people to work..I mean really, isn't that why you receive all the Bush era tax breaks? create jobs!
Jan 23, 2013 7:06PM
Newspapers are going out of style. Create your own. With all the money Trump has, one would think he could buy some hair.
Jan 23, 2013 6:59PM
Do not - I repeat - Do not let Donald Trump anywhere near the New York Times. 
Jan 23, 2013 7:35PM
The friggin drama queen needs to take a permanet seat. Rich? Until his next bankruptcy!
Jan 23, 2013 7:13PM
I hope he gets it...maybe it would balance out what we see in the press now (or don't see)..America is built on free exchange of ideas..ALL IDEAS
Jan 23, 2013 7:06PM
I'd love to see the Donald buy the New York Times and turn it into a conservative rag. 

The first thing I'd do is fire that "pullet surprise" idiot and demand-side economist, Paul Krugman.  Force him to get a real job in the real world and see how much he's actually worth.  Mo O'Dowd would be next!  
Jan 23, 2013 6:59PM
Absolutely NO NO NO ! if any one in the universe would like to control the information that citizens get without having a  defective analysis of the facts and truth, It is DONALD TRUMP
Jan 23, 2013 7:21PM
Wouldn't the NY Post be more his style?
Jan 23, 2013 7:24PM

Michael Cohen, a Trump spokesman says. "Mr. Trump is so smart and so rich that if he wants it, he will get it."


Obviously a statement by someone on the Trump payroll. 


Least people forget, Donald Trump inherited his wealth, around $20 million from his father.  For the longest time, it was joked that he took a $20 million inheritance and turned it into a $20 million dollar business, meaning it went nowhere.  But if you have enough money, enough lawyers and bankers backing you up, eventually you'll make money which is what Donald Trump finally did.  Most of us don't have the advantage of starting out with millions of dollars and teams of lawyers and bankers to support us. 


The final question is, do we really want Donald Trump owning the NYT and influencing what is reported in it?

Jan 23, 2013 7:17PM
Donald is once again creating rumors and speculation to keep his name in the news. Only he knows what his agenda is, I'm betting political. He has no intention to purchase the paper. He would have to fire every reporter and editor who spins the news he doesn't like, which would wipe out the majority of the paper's rainmakers. He will keep his name out there for the next two years and then start his campaign for the GOP nomination, you watch!
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