Chinese recycling mogul Chen Guangbiao has stated via a Communist party-linked newspaper that he is in talks with other investors to buy US family business The New York Times Company.
In an editorial in national news outlet the Global Post, the Jiangsu Huangpu Recycling Resources Company chairman estimated the newspaper’s price tag was around $1 billion (€734 million), and while he said he had limited capital himself, he had convinced a Hong Kong entrepreneur to contribute $600 million to the deal.
Fourth-gen Arthur Sulzberger Jr, the publisher of the paper, has already said that the publication, in which his family owns 88% of voting shares, is not looking for buyers.
But Chen is undeterred and said he was willing to go bankrupt to complete the deal.
In his editorial he implied that he would change the tone of the newspaper to be pro-China if the acquisition went ahead.
“If I succeed, I will conduct some necessary reforms, the ultimate goal of which is to make the paper's reports more authentic and objective, thus rebuilding its credibility and influence,” he said. “This will facilitate the world's leading paper in future development and profit-making.”
The New York Times has invested heavily in its coverage of China, but its website has been blocked in the country ever since it published an article investigating the family wealth of former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.
The paper has also experienced difficulty getting Chinese visas for its correspondents.
Last year saw the transition in ownership of several family-owned media brands. In February The New York Times Company, which had annual 2012 revenues of $1.99 billion, sold The Boston Globe to local businessman and owner of the Boston Red Sox, John W Henry.
In August the Washington Post, which had been held by the Graham family for three generations, was sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and late last year the Forbes family confirmed it was looking to sell its eponymous media company.