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Pinch to get pinched?

It should come as no surprise that one of the most affluent, thoroughly elitist, most devoutly patriarchal organization in Manhattan is The New York Times Company. (And, to shareholders, it comes as no surprise that the company’s strict anti-meritocracy does no aid to its grim financial situation.) The Times’ Château de Versailles business ethos comports pleasantly with its politics, of course: Keep control within the family; they’re the elites; they know what’s best for the rest.

Hassan Elmasry, a renegade director at Morgan Stanley—where the Sulzbergers have holed away many hundreds of millions of dollars—is trying to mount a decapitation attack ‘gainst Arthur Sulzberger Jr., current chairman.

Elmasry is in charge of Morgan Stanley’s American and Global Franchise Strategies Portfolio, an $11.5 billion investment fund that owns about 7.6 percent of the Times’ nonvoting shares. The stock, now around $24, is down nearly 40 percent over the past two years. His response: a proposal that the company eliminate its dual shareholder structure, which he believes fails to provide adequate oversight of management. […]

[T]he New York Times Co. (Charts) has both class A and class B shares. The A shares trade on the open market; the Times B shares are solely owned by Ochs-Sulzberger family members. They control the board through ownership of these B shares…

Isn’t that something? Call John Edwards, because there are two classes of New York Times shareholders.

In response to the attempted reform, Sulzberger has decreed that no further business shall be transacted with Morgan Stanley.


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