"The level of difficulty is great," he said through a translator on
Chen, known for his flashy philanthropy, does not hold shares in the
Times, nor does he plan to buy any of its common shares, he said,
noting that the Times rebuffed a request for a meeting.
The company, which publishes the namesake newspaper, has a market
value of $2.3 billion. Chen, who has been mulling a bid for the
prestigious newspaper for the past two years, said last week he
thinks it is worth $1 billion.
The Ochs-Sulzberger family, which has owned the Times for more than
100 years, controls the company through a trust of Class B shares
with special voting rights.
He penned a column in The Global Times on January 5 asking readers
not to take his intention of buying the paper as a trick or joke.
Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has said recently the Times is not
for sale. A New York Times spokeswoman declined to comment on Chen.
Chen, whose private business is tearing down buildings and bridges,
said in an interview on Tuesday that he still covets the newspaper
but hopes to find an American entrepreneur to partner with to make
The interview followed an hour-long press conference in New York in
which Chen tackled topics from his desire to help demolish the old
San Francisco Bay Bridge to protests by the Falun Gong movement.
[to top of second column]
Dressed in a dark suit, blue and gold striped tie, wearing makeup
for the cameras, Chen performed a song he wrote about world peace
after his opening remarks.
The majority of the conference focused on two Chinese women, a
mother and daughter, who are disfigured from a 2001 self-immolation
incident in Tiananmen Square. Chen brought the women, Hao Huijun and
Chen Guo, to New York to pay for medical procedures.
That Tiananmen Square incident is a flash point in China involving
protests by members of Falun Gong, a practice banned in China since
1999 because the country deemed it a cult.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York;
editing by Richard Chang)
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