Hi, I’m Gregory Lee, banker for The New York Times

January 28, 2009

We’ve heard in recent days that The New York Times has gotten some interest in its stake in the Boston Red Sox, but it seems like whatever offers are being discussed, they must not be enough for the publisher.

In the murky, mysterious world of mergers and acquisitions, companies and their bankers and financial advisers tend to operate far below the radar — only surfacing to leak the news in The Wall Street Journal that a deal is close at hand.

Not this time. While the Journal did get the tip-off back in December, the Times on Wednesday simply issued a press release inviting all comers to take a look at the stake. Not only that, the Times published the name of the Goldman Sachs banker handling the sale, along with his phone number. Usually, as a reporter, you have to cash in lots of chips to get digits like that.

Why do it this way? Because no one bit when they did it in the usual way. That means the NYT’s price for the stake either will come down, or it will have to wait a while until it finds someone who shares its conception of what the stake must be worth. (We’ve heard all sorts of numbers, but $200 million seems like one that analysts could agree on. It could go lower from there.)

So in the new spirit of openness and media companies helping media companies, serious buyers can call Gregory Lee at Goldman Sachs, 212-902-7584.

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