Rumor spurs Times stock

Shares surge on reports of Greenberg increasing holdings

Shares of New York Times Co. surged more than 7% Wednesday on reports — later denied — that former insurance czar Maurice Greenberg has been snapping up stock.

The report in the New York Post fueled rumors that the company is in play, driving the shares up 7.51% to close at $24.76.

But a Greenberg spokesman said late Wednesday that Greenberg “has no present intention of significantly increasing his holdings” in the company. He owns less than 100,000 shares out of 143 million outstanding.

Billionaire Greenberg was ousted as chairman of American Intl. Group last year under the cloud of an accounting scandal.

He’s also said to be eyeing Los Angeles Times parent Tribune Co. and Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co.

The New York Times has been a rumored takeover target for months despite the fact that the company’s dual-stock structure — basically voting and non-voting stock — would make it impossible for anyone to wrest control from owners the Sulzberger family.

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