News / Asia

Chinese Recycling Tycoon Says He Wants to Buy NY Times

FILE - Chen Guangbiao, dressed in green respresenting is environmentalism, is seen at an event in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Oct. 10, 2012.
FILE - Chen Guangbiao, dressed in green respresenting is environmentalism, is seen at an event in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Oct. 10, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— An eccentric Chinese recycling magnate said on Tuesday he was preparing to open negotiations to buy the New York Times Co.

Chen Guangbiao, a well-known philanthropist, is something of a celebrity in China. During a particularly murky bout of pollution in January, the ebullient and tireless self-promoter handed out free cans of “fresh air.”

But Chen says he is perfectly serious in his bid to buy the Times, something that he said he had been contemplating for more than two years. He said he expected to discuss the matter on January 5, when he is due to meet a “leading shareholder” in New York.

”There's nothing that can't be bought for the right price,” Chen said.

As one of the most prestigious newspapers in the world, the Times is an occasional target among the wealthy - some with unsteady aims.

Donald Trump, the real estate magnate who sells Trump-branded bottled spring water, was trying to figure out a way to buy the Times earlier this year, according to a report in New York magazine, which said that details of Trump's plans were “scant.”

It is unlikely that the Times, which has long been controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family, would sell to Chen.

A spokeswoman for the Times said the company did not comment on rumors.

Not for sale

The company's chairman, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., said recently that the Times was not for sale.

Chen believes the Times is worth $1 billion, but said he would be willing to negotiate. The Times current market value is $2.4 billion.

”If we act in sincerity and good faith, I believe the Times chairman will change his way of thinking,” he said.

Chen said if he was unable to buy the New York Times, he would settle for becoming a controlling stakeholder, and failing that, would simply buy a stake.

The New York Times Co., which once was a sprawling media outfit with TV stations, U.S. regional newspapers and ownership stakes in sports ventures like the Boston Red Sox baseball team and the Liverpool football club, is now down to its namesake newspaper.

Shares of the New York Times were down one percent at $15.93 at midday on Tuesday, after earlier hitting a 5-1/2-year high of $16.14.

Ideals

The Ochs-Sulzberger family has owned the Times for more than 100 years and controls the company through a trust of Class B shares with special voting rights.

”It's not true that everything is for sale,” said Ken Doctor, an analyst with Outsell Research. ”That is the reason why the New York Times has a two-class share system.”

Hurun's Rich List of China's super-wealthy put Chen's wealth at about $740 million in 2012. Chen said he would not hesitate to sell off most of his assets if it enabled him to buy the Times.

But Chen said that because his funds were limited, he had persuaded an unnamed Hong Kong tycoon to put in $600 million while he would pay the rest.

Chen said his aim was not to push any political agenda, but rather his personal ideals of “peace on earth, protecting the environment and philanthropy.”

Influence

Chen attracted attention in August 2012 when he bought a half-page advertisement in the Times stating that an island chain at the center of a dispute with Japan had belonged to China since antiquity.

”After that, I realized that the Times' influence all over the world is incredibly vast,” he said. “Every government and embassy, all around the world, pays attention to The New York Times.”

The Times earned the ire of the Chinese government in 2012 with a report about the wealth of former Premier Wen Jiabao. The Times website has been blocked there since then.

Chen said it was natural for the government to block the site because the report on Wen “contained biased and negative things that were not verified.”

”If I acquire the Times, the paper will only report the truth and must verify all information,” Chen said, adding that he would like every Chinese household to subscribe to the paper.

If his offer failed, Chen said he would extend offers to CNN, the Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal.

”As long as they have some influence, I'm still willing to consider buying lesser media outlets,” he said.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid