25-Year-Old Buys Observer, Reportedly for $10 Million
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Jared Kushner, the 25-year-old son of New Jersey developer Charles Kushner, has purchased majority ownership of the New York Observer, in a sale reported to be close to $10 million.
The sale was reported in the New York Times yesterday evening, attributing the amount of the deal only to “one person familiar with the details of the sale.”
The editor of the Observer, Peter Kaplan, who could not confirm the amount of the sale nor when the deal was closed because he had just returned from vacation, told The New York Sun that he is pleased with the choice and hopes that Mr. Kushner will bring new knowledge to the paper.
“He’s got intelligence and real focus,” Mr. Kaplan said. “He’s entering a new media world, and our staff has all the old media know-how it needs. Right now, we need a guy who can move the paper forward … and he strikes me as just the ticket.”
Mr. Kaplan said he is not concerned that Mr. Kushner will undermine editorial independence, and that Mr. Kushner’s lack of newspaper experience will serve as an asset to the paper.
“I think he understands what we are as an entity and he understands our need for need for editorial edge. He understands our need for resources. He understands our need for a creative publisher,” Mr. Kaplan said. “In a world where the best thing that can happen for the U.S. and New York City is to have as many 25 and 30-year-old men and women reading papers as possible… it’s great to have a publisher from a new generation.”
A correspondent for Atlantic Monthly and former author of the Observer’s “Off the Record” column, Sridhar Pappu, said that he was hopeful that the sale would bode well for the paper.”I’m certainly happy for Peter and his staff that the uncertainty surrounding the future of the paper is over,” he said.
The paper currently struggles financially, loosing about $2 million a year. Asked if he thought Mr. Kushner could set the Observer on better footing, Mr. Kaplan said “he’d better,” adding “I think he’ll be a wonderful publisher.”
“I would think that having made a purchase of this size that he’s confident of the paper’s financial viability,” Mr. Pappu said.
Mr. Kushner could not be reached for comment, but he told the New York Times, “I am here to help build the paper in a way that will lead to the best and most honest reporting.”
Mr. Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, was sentenced to two years in prison last year after pleading guilty to tax evasion. His parentage, however, does not concern Mr. Kaplan. “He is his own man. He is himself. Everybody’s got a dad,” he said.