October 1, 2022

Brighton Journal

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Activist investor ValueAct takes stake in The New York Times

Activist investor ValueAct takes stake in The New York Times

ValueAct, an activist investor who has taken stakes in major companies including Microsoft, Reuters and 21st Century Fox, said Thursday it has bought nearly 7 percent of New York Times common stock and will push for changes to some of the publisher’s business. operations.

The stock purchase, announced in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, makes ValueAct one of The Times’ biggest contributors, along with Vanguard and BlackRock Fund Advisors. The Times is controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family, which limits the influence of outside investors on the company.

Shares of The Times, which are down about 27 percent since the start of the year, jumped more than 10 percent on the back of the ValueAct investment news, which was first reported by Bloomberg.

In a letter to its investors Thursday, ValueAct said it conducted research that showed many consumers were unaware that The Times was selling a bundled subscription for its products, which include news, games, cooking app and sports magazine The Athletic. ValueAct said that created a potential growth opportunity.

“This is an opportunity that we believe management needs to drive quickly, as it is the biggest lever to accelerate growth, deepen the New York Times competitive moat, and ensure the platform’s long-term strength and stability,” ValueAct said in the letter. For someone who has knowledge of its contents.

The Times has 9.17 million paying subscribers. she has Subscription target 15 million by the end of 2027.

The Times Corporation has a dual class equity structure. The shares used to elect the majority of the company’s board of directors, called Class B, are controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger Family Trust, which owns 95 percent of these shares. The family has controlled the company since it was bought by Adolph Ochs in 1896. Board of 13 people It is chaired by AG Sulzberger, who is also the publisher of The Times.

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Daniel Rhodes-Ha, a spokeswoman for The Times, said in a statement that members of the company’s management team have held talks with ValueAct to exchange views.

“The Board of Directors and the management team will continue to make decisions that we believe are in the best interest of the Company and all of the Company’s shareholders,” Ms. Ha said in the statement.

Unlike some other activist investors — such as Carl Icahn, who made a name for himself through hard, painful battles — ValueAct has a long track record of investing in companies and working with management behind the scenes. They often look to companies, such as Adobe and Microsoft, in the middle of changing their business models.

Active investors have been increasingly willing to take stakes in companies with dual-tier structures such as The Times. The activist company Elliott Management open He took a position at social media firm Pinterest in August, and the activist firm pushed Blackwells Capital to oust Peloton CEO John Foley this spring.

The Times has dealt with active investors before. In 2008, hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners and Firebrand Partners Tell company hm intends to nominate Four independent directors of the publisher’s board. times He finally made a deal with investment companies, Offer two seats on the board of directors.