NY Times activist shareholder selling stake-source

NEW YORK Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:32am EDT

NEW YORK Oct 17 (Reuters) - A major shareholder who urged New York Times Co (NYT.N) to grant equal rights to shareholders and change its corporate governance structure is selling its stake in the publisher, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Fund manager Hassan Elmasry during the past year had urged the Times to scrap a dual-class share structure that gives the Sulzberger family more control over the company than common shareholders.

Elmasry was unavailable for comment. "As a matter of policy, Morgan Stanley Investment Management does not publicly comment on changes in its portfolios," a spokesman said.

Morgan Stanley Investment Management owned 10.3 million of the common shares, or 7.21 percent of those outstanding, on June 30, according to Reuters data.

New York Times shares fell 44 cents, or 2.33 percent, to $18.47 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Robert MacMillan, editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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