Shares of Times Mirror Co. advanced in heavy trading Wednesday amid speculation that the diversified media conglomerate would be the target of a leveraged buyout.
Los Angeles-based Times Mirror--which owns The Times, Newsday, Baltimore Sun and other media properties--issued a statement declaring that “the company has no knowledge of any corporate development that would explain the unusual trading activity in its stock.” The statement was made in response to a request from the New York Stock Exchange.
On the New York Stock Exchange, Times Mirror Series A common stock rose $1.25 to close at $35.875. Nearly 1.1 million shares traded hands, about four times the average daily volume.
A system adopted nearly a year ago that gives separate classes of stock different voting rights would make an unfriendly takeover of Times Mirror extremely difficult. Altogether, the Chandler family, company management and employee stock plans control about 55% of the voting rights in Times Mirror stock. There are no indications that Chandler family members are pursuing a leveraged buyout.
“There is no way there is going to be an unfriendly takeover here,” said industry analyst Peter P. Appert at the brokerage firm C. J. Lawrence.
Some analysts noted that traders seem to have run up the prices of media stocks lately. “Last week, it was Knight-Ridder,” one analyst told Dow Jones News Service. “They’re moving from stock to stock.”