Former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg apparently tried to buy The New York Times, according to New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman:
Near the end of Bloomberg’s time as mayor, he told Times chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. that he was interested in buying the Times, according to a source with direct knowledge of the conversation. Sulzberger replied that the paper was not for sale.
Bloomberg’s overture isn’t unheard of considering the purchases of the Boston Globe and Washington Post by fellow billionaires John Henry and Jeff Bezos, but they had willing sellers, which isn’t the case with the Times.
In fact, as Sherman reports, the Sulzberger family controls the Times Company through a special class of stock that has protected their hold on the paper, and they are determined to maintain that despite the financial challenges the newspaper faces.
While the newspaper is once again profitable–after factoring out the costs of layoffs—the future is still murky, with print advertising dropping another 5.3 percent in the third quarter of last year, continuing a trend that started with the financial crisis in 2008.
If Bloomberg is willing to pay a premium over the current market value of the company, the Sulzberger family should seriously consider taking the money while the company is still worth something.