Chinese recycling tycoon and philanthropist Chen Guangbiao, who you may recall as the publicity hound who made a name for himself in the canned air business, has set his eyes on a grand new goal: to buy the New York Times Co.
“There’s nothing that can’t be bought for the right price,” Chen said in a reuters report.
The company’s chairman, Aurthur Sulzberger, Jr., recently said in statements that the Times, which has been controlled by the Ochs-Suzlberger family for more than 100 years, is not for sale.
“If we act in sincerity and good faith, I believe the Times chairman will change his way of thinking,” Chen said.
Chen, whose wealth amounted to an estimated $740 million in 2012, also said that he would sell off most of his assets if it allowed him to buy the company.
He has estimated that the Times is worth $1 billion, and, due to limited funding, he is in the talks with an unnamed Hong Kong tycoon who would put $600 million down on the deal.
The New York Times has been blocked in China since 2012, when the Times’ Shanghai bureau chief David Barboza published an investigative report following the the secret wealth of former premier Wen Jiabao’s family members.
Chen said it was natural for the government to block the site because the report on Wen “contained biased and negative things that were not verified.”
“If I acquire the Times, the paper will only report the truth and must verify all information,” Chen said, adding that he would like every Chinese household to subscribe to the paper.
If unable to acquire the Times, Chen said he would settle for extending offers to CNN, the Washington post or The Wall Street Journal.