Newsweek reports that the record and film mogul wants to buy the New York Times and convert it to a non-profit venture.
All the News That's Fit to Buy
Inside David Geffen's play for The New York Times.
By Johnnie L. Roberts | Newsweek Web Exclusive
At 66, David Geffen has amassed a fortune that Forbes estimates at $4.5 billion in its annual list of the global megawealthy. The Hollywood impresario, one of the world's most prescient investors, has scored mammoth returns in art and hedge funds, having cashed out of the financial and art markets well ahead of the crashes. But the foundation of Geffen's wealth—and his first love—remains the media industry, where his touch has been consistently golden, managing and producing legendary music acts such as Joni Mitchell and the Eagles and to helping launch DreamWorks.
So why is Geffen, having already sought unsuccessfully to acquire the Los Angeles Times and now reportedly eyeing The New York Times, so keen on stuffing his portfolio with an investment that seems dead on arrival—newspapers? Geffen declined to publicly comment on media reports that he recently tried to acquire a large stake in the financially distressed New York Times Co., parent of the storied newspaper. But two people familiar with Geffen's thinking say the answer is simple: an acquisition of the Times wouldn't be a financial investment. If Geffen were successful in landing The New York Times, said one of the confidantes, he'd convert it into a nonprofit institution. He would regard the newspaper, perhaps the world's most influential journalistic enterprise, as a national treasure meriting preservation into perpetuity. His model would be the ownership structure of Florida's St. Petersburg Times, which is controlled by a nonprofit educational institution, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. "David would hope the newspaper makes a profit," said the confidante. "But he believes that operating without the ultimate responsibility of paying dividends or necessarily having to be profitable is the best way to run an institution like The New York Times."...more...