The ValueAct activist invites himself to the capital of the New York Times

By getting its hands on 6.7% of the capital of the American media, the investment company wants the New York Times to deploy a more aggressive policy around its bundled offers.

Trouble begins for the New York Times Company? The activist ValueAct Capital Management has just acquired 6.7% of the capital of the group which publishes the prestigious American daily, revealed Thursday documents registered with the SEC, the American stock market policeman. After the news, the action of the New York Times on Wall Street soared 10% to 35 dollars.

ValueAct, known for having notably invited itself to the capital of Nitendo, Adobe or Citigroup, bought more than 11 million shares of the New York Times. The investment firm, based in San Francisco, believes that the group is undervalued and that it could easily improve its margins thanks to a more aggressive deployment of bundled offers to its subscribers. Beyond the New York Times, this also includes access to The Athletic, the sports information site acquired at the beginning of the year by the group for 550 million dollars, as well as its applications for cooking, games (The Crossword and Wordle) and its audio platform Audm.

« Our research revealed that most current New York Times readers and subscribers would be willing to shell out a handsome sum for a package deal. This is an opportunity that the group’s management must seize urgently, to increase its leadership position and ensure its solidity and stability over the long term.wrote ValueAct in a letter to its investors, and obtained by Bloomberg.

Since the start of the year, faced with a turbulent macroeconomic environment, the New York Times has lost 27% of its valuation on Wall Street. It now stands at $5.8 billion.

9.2 million subscribers

Over the years, The New York Times has become a model of success for the newspaper industry in terms of attracting new subscribers. It now has more than 9.2 million subscribers (including more than 90% digital) and is aiming for 15 million within five years. Non-news products now account for more than 10% of its digital subscription revenue.

On the advertising side, however, the American media suffered, like the entire sector, from the fall in investments by advertisers, who were more cautious in the face of the economic situation. At the beginning of August, when publishing its results, the New York Times revealed that its revenues from digital advertising had decreased by 2% in the second quarter of 2022. Despite everything, the group saw its overall turnover increase by 23% , to reach 498 million dollars over the period.

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