The Harbinger hedge fund and its partner in putting pressure on the New York Times Company management, Firebrand Partners, have named the four people they’ve nominated to the company board to challenge sitting directors. They’ve also nearly doubled their stock holding in the company. That tally is now 9.96% of the company’s public stock, up from just under 5% when the two teamed up to battle for seats on the board of directors. Harbinger and Firebrand have insisted that their actions should not be called “hostile” and they disclosed in an SEC filing that they met with New York Times Co. Chairman Arthur Sulzberger and CEO Janet Robinson on Friday. No word on how those talks went.
Harbinger and Firebrand have nominated Scott Galloway, a Clinical Associate Professor at the New York University Stern School of Business; James A. Kohlberg, a co-founder of the Kohlberg & Company private equity firm; Allen L. Morgan, a General Partner/Managing Director of Mayfield Fund, a venture capital fund; and Gregory Shove, co-founder and CEO of Helium Group LLC, an Internet media company.
Harbinger/Firebrand said in their SEC filing that they will seek reimbursement from the New York Times Company for the costs associated with their proxy battle to put their candidates on the board in place of those backed by management. Such reimbursements typically occur only when such a proxy fight is successful. The Harbinger/Firebrand candidates are seeking the board seats elected by the holders of the New York Times Company’s publicly traded stock. The majority of the board seats are elected by the super-voting shares held by the Ochs-Sulzberger Family, which are not publicly traded.