An eccentric Chinese tycoon announced on Tuesday he wants to buy The New York Times.
Chen Guangbiao, the self-made owner of a recycling empire, said he is due to meet a “leading shareholder” in the Times on Jan. 5 to open negotiations, even though the company’s chairman, Arthur Sulzberger Jr, has long insisted the Times is not for sale. “There’s nothing that can’t be bought for the right price,” Chen Reuters.
Chen, whose wealth is estimated at approximately $740 million, said he had lined up an anonymous business partner in Hong Kong to help raise the approximately $1 billion needed to buy the newspaper. “If we act in sincerity and good faith, I believe the Times chairman will change his way of thinking,” he said. A spokesperson for the Times told Reuters it didn’t comment on rumors.
The entrepreneur is famous in China for headline-grabbing publicity stunts. In January, he distributed cans of “fresh air” while northern China suffered under a severe bout of toxic smog. He also handed out 5,000 free bicycles to urge people to ride bikes instead of driving.
If his offer to buy the Times fails, Chen said he might put offers in to purchase CNN, The Washington Post — which was recently bought by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — or the Wall Street Journal. “I’m still willing to consider buying lesser media outlets,” he said.