Times hires Citigate Sard

NEW YORK: The New York Times Co. has hired Citigate Sard Verbinnen to help it deal with a Morgan Stanley-led shareholder revolt, according to industry sources.

NEW YORK: The New York Times Co. has hired Citigate Sard Verbinnen to help it deal with a Morgan Stanley-led shareholder revolt, according to industry sources.

Last month, Morgan Stanley began a public push to reform the Times' stock structure, which keeps control of the paper in family hands. Morgan Stanley complained of excessive executive pay and poor performance of the stock, which has lost half its value in less than four years.

Media reports last month indicated that the Times turned to Knight Ridder, another newspaper company that recently faced shareholder dissatisfaction, for advice. Knight Ridder worked with Joele Frank, but that firm already has Morgan Stanley as a client.

Neither the Times' VP of corporate communications Catherine Mathis nor Paul Verbinnen, president of Sard, returned messages for comment.

The Times' two levels of stock allow the Sulzberger family to maintain control of the paper even while holding only a small fraction of its overall shares. Some say family control of papers promotes quality journalism because there are fewer cost-cutting pressures.

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