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
495Comments
Jan 23, 2013 5:31PM
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He's trying to buy it in order to close the liberal rag for good as a public service.
Jan 23, 2013 5:28PM
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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 5:27PM
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If he had the Times then he push his "BIRTHER" mentality.
Jan 23, 2013 5:27PM
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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 5:23PM
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Out on the Open Market or Through it's Debit..Trump Pays it's Debits or He's Suckered on the Open Market?? The Grey Laddie is a Perfect Whore...Wilbur Ross knows Whores/PIgs...What the New York Times owes dwarfs Donald Trump. The Casinos dosn't have that much return/output. The Gray Laddie is a perfect whore and Donald Trump dosn't have the cash and neither does the general public.. 

Jan 23, 2013 5:23PM
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Tramp.......Would turn the Times into a useless political and it's all about me...RAG...

Don't be fooled, New Yorkers..

Jan 23, 2013 5:19PM
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Someone....The McQuack buyer, we would throw your azz in the street at our Restaurant..moron.

I'm sure your Burger Queen story is about as honest as the other...Get a Life..

Like Trump, boooooyahhhhh!!

Jan 23, 2013 5:01PM
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Fine...let him throw his money down a rabbit hole....fewer and fewer people read newspapers anymore..most get their news on the internet. Newspaper....esp. a rag like the NY Times...is passe.
Jan 23, 2013 4:55PM
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Trump's going off the deep end for sure. Why would he want to buy that rag of a newspaper. He would have to fire all the writers first off because their all communists.

MSN calling this a respected newspaper in their bi-line would be enough for anyone to avoid  purchasing this paper and to avoid it like the plague.

Jan 23, 2013 4:55PM
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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 4:55PM
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It's a liberal rag with no credibility.  They would never sell to a conservative who doesn't agree with their philosophy, they would only sell to an organization that does, like Jazeera.
Jan 23, 2013 4:49PM
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MR COHEN  YOU ARE DUMBER THAN THE MOUTH FOR MAKING SUCH RIDICULOS STATEMENTS  THE SULSBERGER FAMILY WOULD NEVER EVEN ENTERTAIN SUCH A GOOFY IDEA. THINGS MUST BE SLOW INTHE MOUTHS WORLD FOR HIM TOGET A LITTLE PUBLICITY OUT OF THIS, AND BY THE WAY THE MOUTH DOSENT HAVE NEAR THE MONEY YOU THINK HE HAS AND FOR BEING SMART PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jan 23, 2013 4:47PM
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I hope he buys that rag out and turns it into a decent NON LIBERAL mouthpiece.
Jan 23, 2013 4:40PM
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I ordered a big mac from McDonald's with added tomatos and pickles and the cost was $4 and some change just for the burger.  I told the cashier to forget about it and went to Burger King and got a whole meal for the same price.

 

Jan 23, 2013 4:31PM
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Turning the NYTimes over to Donald Trump would make the paper a worthless rag for his propaganda.  When he is done with it he will likely close it down.
Jan 23, 2013 4:21PM
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With what money? Trump only plays a billionaire on TV.
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