Friday, January 23, 2015

"People Are Talking About Michael Bloomberg Buying the New York Times, Including Michael Bloomberg"

From New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer:
For years now, it has been speculated in media circles that Mike Bloomberg could be a white knight and save the New York Times. Now it appears he may actually have tried to do it.

Near the end of Bloomberg's time as mayor, he told Times chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. that he was interested in buying the Times, according to a source with direct knowledge of the conversation. Sulzberger replied that the paper was not for sale.

Bloomberg’s overture, previously unreported, might be one reason why talk of a Bloomberg-Times eventuality has flared up among insiders in the wake of the most recent round of Times’ layoffs. Given the fact that both sides vehemently deny that there have been recent conversations (Sulzberger “can’t remember the last time he spoke with Bloomberg,” said a spokesperson), this may very well be wishful — or apprehensive — thinking being played out in the echo chamber of media gossip.

But it does seem that Bloomberg is in fact interested in the Times and that his interest has not waned. "Mike has muttered a lot about the Times to a lot of people," a Bloomberg adviser told me.
The strongest advocate for such a deal is said to be Bloomberg’s longtime political adviser Kevin Sheekey. In pushing Bloomberg to buy the Times, Sheekey is reprising a role he played in 2008, when he encouraged Bloomberg to run for president. According to a particularly knowledgeable source, in the summer of 2013, Sheekey held a private meeting with a person close to Sulzberger and asked how a deal for the Times could get done. “Sheekey basically said, 'we want to buy the company,'" a person familiar with the conversation said. A Bloomberg source told me: “Kevin has long been a vocal enthusiast to Mike about this. Sulzberger needs to go somewhere for money. We know they have a real issue, and Mike is an obvious person he’d turn to.” ...MORE