At some point I really will have to stop talking about the New York Times. The people truly interested in this subject are limited to a smaller and smaller circle. And yet, for us, the Times is -- as well as a dying way of life -- an irresistible soap opera.
As the countdown begins -- Fortune reports that David Geffen and Google have looked at buying a stake in the Times at its current depressed price -- there are two avid buyers and then a more reserved one. The avids are Carlos Slim and Rupert Murdoch. The doubtful, but willing-to-be-convinced, buyer is Michael Bloomberg.
The Sulzberger family will have to choose one of these rich men to bail them out -- there are a lot of Sulzbergers, the family fortune has all but disappeared, and few of them have jobs. They'll choose the rich man who mollifies or tricks or seduces them better than the others.
The buyer's game will be to allow Arthur Sulzberger to think that a partnership is possible, that one of these rich men will underwrite the paper and let Arthur run it.
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