N.Y. Times shares fall after sale of 7.2% stake


NEW YORK -- Shares of The New York Times Co. fell Wednesday following news that a dissident investor who had been pushing for changes at the family-controlled company sold his 7.2% stake.

Hassan Elmasry, a fund manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, sold his entire stake in the Times Wednesday, ending a two-year standoff with management, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday, speaking on condition of not being identified by name.

The Wall Street Journal's Web site and CNBC had reported the sale earlier.

Elmasry had been pressing for a number of changes at the Times, including an end to the two-class share structure that allows the Sulzberger family to maintain control. The Times has said the family doesn't have any plans to change the company's structure.

The Times' shares fell 43 cents, or 2.3%, to close at $18.48 Wednesday, breaking below the bottom end of their 52-week range of $18.69 to $26.90.

Shares of major newspaper publishers have been declining in recent months over deepening concerns about an ongoing migration of readers and advertisers to the Internet.

New York Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis declined to comment.

In addition to the Times, the company also owns The Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune and 15 other daily newspapers.