Harbinger Capital, the activist hedge fund that had battled with management at The New York Times Co., continues to sell its substantial stake in the company, according to HedgeFund.net. Harbinger now owns about a 9.4% of the Times, down from just under 11% at the beginning of the month.
In 2008, Harbinger and fellow activist investor Firebrand Partners owned as much as 19% of Times stock. Together, the value of their holdings rivaled those of the Sulzberger family, which controls a separate class of stock that grants voting power over the direction of the company. Harbinger undertook to convince Times Co. to divest from non-core pursuits and bolster its digital presence.
It’s not just Harbinger’s cash that’s exiting the Times. The fund managed in 2008 to land a seat on the Times’ board of directors for quirky marketing professor Scott Galloway, but he’s leaving his Times seat at the end of April.
Harbinger’s investment has proven costly, according to HedgeFund.net:
By 2009, it was clear the Times Co. investment had backfired on Harbinger. The fund had reportedly paid $20 a share for a stock which, as of Monday, April 26, was trading at $11.50 apiece on the New York Stock Exchange.