Chinese tycoon admits New York Times bid faces obstacles

Wed Jan 8, 2014 3:44am EST
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By Jennifer Saba

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chinese recycling tycoon Chen Guangbiao dialed back his ambitious plans to buy The New York Times Co just over a week after making his intentions public.

"The level of difficulty is great," he said through a translator on Tuesday.

Chen, known for his flashy philanthropy, does not hold shares in the Times, nor does he plan to buy any of its common shares, he said, noting that the Times rebuffed a request for a meeting.

The company, which publishes the namesake newspaper, has a market value of $2.3 billion. Chen, who has been mulling a bid for the prestigious newspaper for the past two years, said last week he thinks it is worth $1 billion.

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

He penned a column in The Global Times on January 5 asking readers not to take his intention of buying the paper as a trick or joke.

Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has said recently the Times is not for sale. A New York Times spokeswoman declined to comment on Chen.

Chen, whose private business is tearing down buildings and bridges, said in an interview on Tuesday that he still covets the newspaper but hopes to find an American entrepreneur to partner with to make the purchase.   Continued...