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Oddball Chinese magnate looking to buy the New York Times

(Credit: Reuters) This is a photo of Chinese multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao handing out yuans to photographers.Chen Guangbiao
January 3
11:26 AM 2014

Although 45 year-old recycling magnate Chen Guangbiao has never acquired a company, nor was a proficient English speaker or have logged work experience in a media company or its equivalent, the controversial Chinese entrepreneur was said to be eyeing the New York Times Co as its first acquisition. A report by Reuters noted Chen's confidence in acquiring the most influential news outlet in the world, even though the latter will not be selling to Chen.

Chen in the business industry is regarded as an oddball of sorts, who is known to be a philanthropist tycoon who is popular with his publicity stunts than his business acumen. In a phone interview on Friday conducted by the news agency, Chen said he has hired the services of a financial services firm, of which with his in-house lawyers, will aid him in his offer to acquire the Times.

"I've already spoken extensively with their lawyers the last time I visited the United States," Chen said, who also said the US firm wished to remain private.

Chen also revealed to Reuters that he will be meeting with a leading shareholder of the news outlet for dinner on Sunday to discuss about his $1 billion offer. The current market value of the Times is $2.4 billion, Reuters said in its report.

When asked by the news agency about Chen's upcoming meeting with the shareholder, a Times spokeswoman said she does not have any knowledge of any meeting.

Rich List of China's super-wealthy by Hurun said Chen's wealth is worth about $740 million in 2012. According to Reuters, there was little information about the privately-held demolition giant that won Chen his wealth, which is the Jiangsu Huangpu Recycling Resources. It is said that the company's core business was to tear down bridges and buildings and recycle the remains.

Hurun Rich List publisher Rupert Hoogewerf said, "There is nobody else like Chen Guangbiao in the charity world. The image he's got in China is that of a showman, but there's a grudging respect for the fact that he's doing charity nonetheless."

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