Morgan Stanley sold its 10 million share / 7.2% stake in New York Times Co. Wednesday morning, ending an extended struggle with Times management, the Wall Street Journal said on its website, citing unnamed sources. The move comes as New York Times shares are trading at a 52-week lows, "a signal of how negative investor sentiment in the newspaper industry has become," the Journal said. Meanwhile the Times, and its chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr., can say goodbye to an outspoken and aggressive critic, Hassan Elmasry, who ran the Morgan Stanley fund that owned the stake. Elmasry led an unsuccessful campaign for the Ochs-Sulzberger family, who control the Times through their minority Class-B stake, to relinquish control of the paper, leading CEO Janet Robinson to comment that the family "has no intention of opening any doors to the action that is tearing at the heart of some of the other great journalistic institutions of our country." (full story) "As a matter of policy, Morgan Stanley Investment Management does not publicly comment on changes in its portfolios," an Elmasry spokesman said. The Times also declined to comment. Earlier this morning, CNBC reporter David Faber said, "There's a 10 million share block that went up. I'm hearing, I don't know for certain and cannot confirm at this point, that it is Morgan Stanley." NY Times shares are down 2.9% in midday trading.
Commentary: New York Times: Poised for Gain • New York Times' Online Free-For-AllThe Buffett Sell Signal
Stocks to watch: NYT
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