Activist Investor ValueAct Takes Stake in The New York Times

Activist investor ValueAct, which invests in major companies including Microsoft, Reuters and 21st Century Fox, on Thursday bought nearly 7% of the common stock of The New York Times Company, turning it into part of the publisher’s business. said to ask for operation.

A stock purchase filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday makes ValueAct one of The Times’ largest shareholders alongside Vanguard and BlackRock Fund Advisors. The New York Times is controlled by the Ox Sulzberger family, which limits the influence outside investors can have on the company.

The Times’ stock, which has fallen about 27% since the beginning of the year, surged more than 10% on news of a ValueAct investment. Bloomberg first reported.

ValueAct said in a letter to investors on Thursday that many consumers said The Times is selling bundled subscriptions to its products, including news, games, cooking apps and sports publication The Athletic. He said it had conducted an investigation that showed it was not aware. ValueAct says it has created potential growth opportunities.

“We believe this is the number one way to accelerate growth, deepen the NYT’s competitive moat, and ensure the long-term strength and stability of the platform, so it should be pushed urgently by management. This is an opportunity for us to continue to grow,” ValueAct said in the letter. For those who know its contents.

The Times currently has 9.17 million paying subscribers. We aim to reach 15 million registrations by the end of 2027.

The Times has a two-part stock structure. The shares used to elect the majority of the company’s board of directors, known as Class B, are owned by an Ochs-Sulzberger family trust. The family has managed the business since it was purchased by his Adolph Ochs in 1896. 13 person board It is chaired by AG Sulzberger, publisher of The Times.

Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said in a statement that members of the company’s executive team had exchanged views with ValueAct.

“The board and management will continue to make decisions that they believe are in the best interest of the company and all company shareholders,” Ha said in a statement.

Unlike other activist investors like Carl Icahn, who made a name for himself in legal battles, ValueAct has a long history of investing in companies and working with management behind the scenes. We often look for companies that are in the process of changing their business models, such as Adobe and Microsoft.

Activist investors are increasingly willing to invest in companies with dual structures like The Times.Activist firm Elliott Management clearly In August, he landed a position at social media company Pinterest, and activist firm Blackwells Capital called for the dismissal of Peloton chief executive John Foley this spring.

The Times has previously dealt with activist investors. In 2008, his Harbinger Capital Partners and Firebrand Partners in hedge funds Said They intended to appoint four independent directors to the publisher’s board. He ended up signing a contract with an investment firm, which provided him with two seats on the board.

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