nytimes.com/2022/08/11/business/media/new-york-times-valueact-stock.html
Activist investor ValueAct says it bought nearly 7 percent of The New York Times Company. The purchase of the stock makes ValueAct one of the largest shareholders in The Times, alongside Vanguard and BlackRock Fund Advisors. ValueAct has taken stakes in major companies including Microsoft, Reuters and 21st Century Fox.

The Times is controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family, which limits the influence outside investors have on the company. Shares of The Times, which are down about 27 percent year to date, jumped more than 10 percent on news of ValueAct’s investment. ValueAct said it had conducted research that showed many consumers were not aware that The Times sells a bundled subscription.

The Times has 9.17 million paid subscribers. It has a goal of signing up 15 million by the end of 2027. The shares used to elect the majority of the company’s board, called Class B, are controlled by a trust for the Ochs-Sulzberger family, which owns 95 percent of these shares.

The 13-person board is chaired by A.G. Sulzberger, who is also the publisher of The Times. Unlike some other activist investors — like Carl Icahn — ValueAct has a track record of investing in companies over a long period and working with management behind the scenes. A Times spokeswoman said members of the company’s management team had held conversations with ValueAct.

The Times has dealt with activist investors before. In 2008, the hedge funds Harbinger Capital Partners and Firebrand Partners told the company they intended to nominate four independent directors to the publisher’s board. The Times ultimately struck a deal with the investment firms, offering up two board seats.
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