Today's New York Times Company annual shareholder meeting is expected to be, in the words of the Times itself, a "contentious" affair. What with "dissident investors" like Morgan Stanley's Hassan Elmasry calling for the Sulzberger family to change the dual stock-structure that allows them to control the paper, the stakes have never been higher - even though nothing is likely to change. But how will family head Albert Sulzberger Jr., address the controversy? Gawker has obtained a copy of his opening remarks.
The New York Times Company just released its first quarter results, and the news is not all good. It's not all bad either though! Here are a few things Hassan Elmasry and other Times finance critics will be using to bolster their anti-Sulzberger cases: earnings per share were $.14, compared to $.21 in the first quarter of 2006. We would call that a 33 percent decrease in earnings per share. Also, operating profit decreased to $54.5 million, as compared to $60.5 million in the first quarter of 2006. That's 10 percent! (Yay, pre-algebra!) But CEO Janet Robinson put a brave face to the numbers. Let's walk you through some key points.
The annual shareholder meeting of the Times Co. is just next Tuesday, and in preparation we're all reading the company's annual report. What delicious secrets lurked within, we wondered? Well we enjoy the "Risk Factors" section, where we learned the following: The New York Times does not like that the odd idea that blogs are taking away their business. (They are? News to us.) Also, all those layoffs might result in an inferior product!
The Wall Street hostilities directed at West 43rd Street are heating up! Influential investment advisor firm Institutional Shareholder Services (better known by the slithery acronym ISS) issued a report yesterday advising that NYT Co. Class A shareholders withhold votes for the four directors that are up for election later this month. The Class B shareholders—those are largely Sulzberger family members—control the votes for the remaining nine directors on the board. So by telling Class A shareholders to withhold their votes, ISS is, obviously, telling the non-family shareholders to tell the Times that they don't like the way the company is being run. Meouch! What else does ISS have to say? And why is this a big deal, anyway?