In his note to NYDN employees, Zuckerman wrote that he had not been considering a sale until an interested party approached his management team with an offer several weeks ago, at which point they retained the services of financial advisory firm Lazard to help evaluate the offer and talk to other potential buyers and investors.
Zuckerman didn’t name the first suitor or specify other potential buyers and investors, but previously rumors have swirled around a possible sale to Rupert Murdoch, owner of the NYDN’s arch rival, the New York Post.
The NYDN’s billionaire owner went on to write that despite the newspaper industry’s well-publicized woes, he believes the NYDN is in a strong position, thanks to its push to expand its online offerings. The newspaper has also been aggressive in cutting costs, for example with its recent decision to close bureaus in New York City’s outer boroughs.
Zuckerman, who made his fortune in real estate, originally acquired the newspaper in 1993 after it was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1992, following the death at sea of its previous owner, British media magnate Robert Maxwell.
Like many other newspapers, the NYDN has struggled with declining print circulation and advertising sales in recent years. According to figures from the Alliance for Audited Media, the newspaper’s average weekday circulation fell from 715,052 during the six-month period ending September 2004 to 427,452 in the six-month period ending September 2014, for a 40% decline during the decade.
Over the same period, the NY Post’s average weekday circulation declined 27% from 686,207 to 497,878.