Thursday, May 14, 2009

Are newspapers the new charities? (part two)

After I wrote the post that appeared earlier this evening (which I wrote previously and scheduled for Thursday evening publication), I ran across this item in MediaMemo. The MediaMemo item points out that even if David Geffen WANTS to convert the New York Times into a non-profit, he is not going to have the power to do so.

Geffen has reportedly tried to buy the 20 percent stake in the Times now owned by Harbinger Capital, though the two sides couldn’t agree on price. But even if they did, the transaction would only bail out Harbinger, not the Times.

And because the Times has a dual-class stock structure that keeps control of the company in the hands of the Ochs-Sulzberger family, taking on Harbinger’s stake doesn’t give Geffen a foot in the door to the company. It gives him the right to appoint two representatives to the company’s 14-member board of directors, but nothing else. Just ask the Harbinger folks.

More here.
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