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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495Comments
Jan 23, 2013 7:13PM
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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 7:13PM
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I wonder how far he would go for a limo for his son in law...Who came from nowhere, who took a bunch of pictures and wants to publish more pictures..Like passover a commerical for another commerical???If Barron Hilton "Who was on Okinawa in 1945" took a picture of "Trumps Son in Law" Would he be one of the GI's or would he be a Japanese Prisoner??? 
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can't stand this guy...everthing he touches turns to sh**!
Jan 23, 2013 7:12PM
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This Old Punk, Rush, the gang of millionaires host(s) of FOX are the reason, the Republican Party is going down. It is not Obama or the Democrats; these punks are the problem. USA is not the same country that we had 30 years ago; and dirt bagssss like these guys are not helping the cause.

R
Art. USA-RETIRED (32 years with the combat boots on)
Rangers Lead the Way.
Jan 23, 2013 7:11PM
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it is time the right wings take a page out of lefty's play book, if you say it enough time people will believe it, trump wants NY back to being the big apple where if you got the balls to take a bite then you can be successful, unfortunately right now the leftys are cutting up the apple and giving it out to those unwillling to improve themselves, why do you this people are pouring out of there
Jan 23, 2013 7:11PM
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Trump here he goes again ... What drug is this man on? 
Jan 23, 2013 7:10PM
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Oh hell no....just finish driving the stake through the heart of this country why dontcha. 

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A company Shill?!?!  Media Matters calls the San Diego paper a company shill?  Yikes! 

 

Now, I don't know anything about that publication so maybe it is... but this is coming from Media Matters and is on a "news" report on MSN which is owned by NBC...  the land of fruits and nuts whose legs can tingle any time Obama is around.

 

A strait story would have just mantioned Trump is interested in the NY Times and what is the possibility of his attaining it.  Sure, make an effort to indicate what direction he might take it and that is fine.

BUT...  Is there now no story that can be printed without calling names and trying to tear someone about... just because they are on an opposite political side? 

 

NBC is pathetic, as is Media Matters, as is CBS, who big boy is now calling Obama to go for the Republican's juggler!

 

You folks won't get it until the USA is gone the way of Rome. 

Jan 23, 2013 7:08PM
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what's the difference the paper already shills for the liberals
Jan 23, 2013 7:08PM
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So now Donald Trump want to buy The NYT. I guess that everything is for sale to the rich, ahem except the WhiteHouse and now maybe the NYT as well. It just goes to show that money can't buy everything and with blow-hards like Trump. Yet if the owner of this company was spiteful. The price would be multiplyed to the 10 power with compound interest to boot. Yeah sell him the NYT with a pricetag so high that he'll be back in bankruptcy court looking like the abnoxious loud-mouth that he is...
Jan 23, 2013 7:07PM
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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?  ...to create jobs!
Jan 23, 2013 7:07PM
Jan 23, 2013 7:06PM
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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 7:06PM
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I will cancel my online daily news if Trump takes charge of the New Your Times!!
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Another Gossip Monger in print?   I can live another 77 years without that!
Jan 23, 2013 7:06PM
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Would love to see it bought, just to be shut down.  Unlike government which liberals use as a vehicle to compel others into paying for lofty ideals they can't afford themselves, cause them to go out and earn the resources to the NYT going and make them actual stakeholders in the game of life for the first time.
Jan 23, 2013 7:06PM
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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 7:06PM
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Last time I ate at Burger King I got a little extra protein - a roach in my coke.  Trump - Really???????????????
Jan 23, 2013 7:04PM
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wouldnt sell trump my 2 dollar bill if he offered to buy it
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