Newspaper people are impressed (and terrified) by the size of the stake that a pack of hedge funds has built up in the New York Times. The 19% stake now controlled by Harbinger Capital and scary-sounding Firebrand Partners is now roughly equivalent to the ownership of the Sulzberger family. Here's what's amazing: not that another great American media institution is (snore) at the mercy of ravening capitalists; but that the newspaper is so frakking cheap.
Let's put the numbers in perspective. The New York Times is worth one-fiftieth (oops) the value of Google. The predators have accumulated their holdings at a cost of less than $600m, which would buy Larry Ellison about three yachts. The Sulzbergers should not be lauded for their stewardship of the Times' great journalistic tradition; but damned for leaving the Gray Lady in the stockmarket's bargain bin.