NEW YORK Oct 30 Shareholder pressure on the
New York Times Co (NYT.N) has eased after a prominent activist
investor sold his stake, and the company is likely to remain
publicly traded, an adviser to the publisher said on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, fund manager Hassan Elmasry unloaded
Morgan Stanley Investment Management's 7.2 percent stake in the
Times. Elmasry had spent two years trying to get the Times to
change its share structure to give other investors equal voting
power to the Ochs-Sulzberger family, which has run the Times
for more than a century.
"I think you've now seen the end of at least this phase of
activity with Morgan Stanley selling their stock," said Steven
Rattner, managing partner at Quadrangle Group LLC and an
adviser to Times Chairman and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Elmasry also sought other management changes, including
separating the role of chairman from that of publisher, saying
that the company was poorly run.
Rattner, who made his comments at the Future of Business
Media Conference in New York, also said that the Times likely
will remain a publicly traded company.
"I think the family has stated very clearly at every step
of the way their belief that their ownership of The New York
Times is a very sacred trust and one they intend to maintain,"
Rattner said. "There has never been the slightest hint or
suggestion that I know of of anything other than that."
The Times, like other U.S. newspaper publishers, has been
growing its online revenue while coping with poorer advertising
revenue at its print papers, including the Boston Globe and
several smaller daily papers around the United States.
While the company's ad revenue rose in the third quarter,
it is unclear whether that trend will continue.
Some experts have said that the company should consider
going private to escape the ire of shareholders, a move that at
least one other publisher, Tribune Co TRB.N, is taking.
New York Times shares fell 64 cents, or 3.12 percent, to
close at $19.86 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Robert MacMillan)