Hollywood’s David Geffen has amassed a multi-billion-dollar fortune through his business acumen, so why on earth is he looking to invest in the newspaper industry by buying a large stake in the New York Times? The reason, two sources tell Johnnie L. Roberts of Newsweek, is that Geffen doesn’t view it as a financial investment. He sees the Times as a sort of national resource and would convert it into a nonprofit institution.
“David would hope the newspaper makes a profit,” says one source. “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.” The business model would loosely follow that of the St. Petersburg Times, which is run by the nonprofit Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Geffen’s initial bid for a 20% stake via a hedge fund was reportedly rebuffed, but he remains interested, writes Roberts.