Will ‘The New York Times’ Be Next To Be Sold?
Creative Commons photo by Peter Dutton
After Monday’s surprising news that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is buying The Washington Post for $250 million — a deal that came just days after the Boston Globe was sold for $70 million to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry — a question naturally occurs:
On Tuesday, at least two long-time media watchers reached the same conclusion:
— “After the Post‘s sale, attention now turns inevitably to The New York Times,” writes USA Today‘s Rem Rieder. “Like the Post, the Times has long been family owned, by the Sulzbergers. Its commitment to quality journalism is unmatched. And it did the entire newspaper business a serious favor when it started to charge for digital content in 2011.
“But it is subject to the same maelstrom that forced the sale of the Post: Witness the fact that at one point it had to turn to a controversial Mexican billionaire for a bailout. There are periodic flurries of speculation about the sale of the Times, perhaps to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who already has his own media empire. (A company spokesman waved off an attempt to talk to Times Co. Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. about the Post sale and the future of his own newspaper.)”
— “The Washington Post sale makes it much more likely that The New York Times, the world’s most influential newspaper, will be sold next year to New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who leaves office Jan. 1 with no announced plans for the future,” says David Cay Johnston at The National Memo. “Bloomberg, whose income runs more than $1 billion annually, chafes at how his Bloomberg company terminals are the nerve centers of Wall Street, but his solid (and deadly dull) news operation has less influence than some Internet pipsqueaks.
“Bloomberg, like Bezos, has the very deep pockets needed to invest in the news business and devise a model suited for the Digital Age. Both men also have a long-term vision focused on wealth creation, rather than quick profits, and on affecting the body politic rather than enjoying a life of idle decadence.”
Reuters’ Jack Shafer, who had put his money on Bloomberg as the most likely person to buy the Post, also notes that the New York City mayor has “toyed in semi-public with the idea of buying either the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, or the Financial Times.”
As for the potential price the Times might fetch, The Wrap says that the sale of the Post “underscores the steeply declining value of American newspapers and is ominous news for other marquee brands that are up for sale including The New York Times and Tribune Co.’s newspapers.” It reminds readers that the Times paid $1.1 billion for the Globe in 1993 and that Henry picked it up for 15 times less. “Should the day come when … the Sulzbergers decide to join the Grahams by selling The New York Times, they will find it has turned into a buyers market where bargain-hunting is the name of the game.”