Monday, January 28, 2008

New York Times (NYT) Higher As Hedge Fund Group Seeks 4 Board Seats, Change Toward Digital Strategy

Shares of The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) are higher today after Firebrand/Harbinger announced plans to nominate four Class A directors for election at the Company's 2008 Annual Meeting which will be held on April 22.

Firebrand/Harbinger, LLC, a company formed by Firebrand Partners and Harbinger Capital Partners, together own approximately 4.9% of the outstanding common equity of The New York Times.

Firebrand/Harbinger said they are not pursuing a change in the dual class shareholder structure, but will focus on working with management and the Board for the benefit of all stakeholders.

In the letter Firebrand/Harbinger said, "There is nothing wrong with The New York Times Company that cannot be fixed with what is right with The New York Times." The group said, a renewed focus on the core assets and the redeployment of capital to expedite the acquisition of digital assets affords the greatest shareholder appreciation and creates the appropriate platform to compete in today's media landscape.

Firebrand/Harbinger said the current Board has not been effective in inspiring the requisite bold action this media environment demands. The group said their nominees bring deep expertise in capital allocation, Internet media and brand strategy.

In addition to Firebrand Partners Founder and CIO, Scott Galloway, the director nominees include: Allen Morgan, Managing Director at venture capital firm Mayfield Fund, whose investing practice focuses on internet media; Gregory Shove, a former executive at AOL and advisor to Firebrand Partners; and James Kohlberg, co-founder of private equity firm Kohlberg & Company.

The group wants to transform the New York Times from "a low growth company" into a "robust firm that is both the newspaper of record and the most trusted starting point on the Internet."

The 4.9% stake owned by Firebrand/Harbinger puts them just below the 5% threshold which would require the filling of a 13D.

Shares of The New York Times are up over 5% today.

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