Remember last week when Arthur Sulzberger Jr. “emphatically declared,” according to the New York Times‘ own coverage, that the newspaper was not for sale?
Turns out Sulzberger, the paper’s publisher and the chairman of the New York Times Company, sold 50,000 shares of stock in the paper the very next day.
The declaration came after a pair of high-profile newspaper sales: the sale of the Boston Globe to Red Sox owner John Henry, and the sale of the Washington Post to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
A week earlier, the Daily Beast–whose parent company, IAC, sold Newsweek to the International Business Times the same week the Post and Globe were sold–asked Sulzberg about the rumors that Michael Bloomberg might be interested in buying the paper.
The Daily Beast described his reaction: “‘Imagine. People talk. What a shock,’ Sulzberger says sarcastically. ‘The Times,’ he says, slapping his palm on the table, ‘is Not. For. Sale.”‘*
*At least not all of it, at once–for now, anyway.
According to SEC filings, Sulzberger netted about $600,000 from the sale. He still owns 173,675 class A shares, as well as, the Wall Street Journal reports, 851,000 stock options, and “an interest in several million class A and B shares held through a family trust.”
A Times Company spokesperson told the paper the sale “is part of Arthur’s normal estate planning,” but it certainly casts the statement released last week in a slightly different light.
The statement, distributed shortly after a closed-door family meeting, actually said, “Will our family seek to sell the Times? The answer to that is no. the Times is not for sale.” (Emphasis ours.)
Seems slightly less emphatic now, huh? Sure, they won’t seek a buyer out, but if the right person were to come to the family and make them the right offer …
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