After being on the market for many months, the New York Observer has finally a new owner. The big surprise: He is a 25 year old law student, son of a wealthy New Jersey developer who has had several brushes with the law.
The son, Jared Kushner, insists he is using his own money to buy The Observer – money he made while he was a student at Harvard from real estate investments He is reportedly paying $10 million for the weekly , which like the Financial Times is printed on salmon coloured paper and is popular among New York media and celebrity circles.
Ten million dollars is about the amount The Observer’s founder, Arthur Carter, has invested in the paper over the years. Lately it has been losing about $2 million a year. Its new owner nevertheless believes, despite its small circulation of about 50,000, it’s a good investment. He has assured the editor and staff that he does not intend to interfere editorially, that to him it is a business venture In any event he is now at New York University studying for a degree in law. Arthur Carter, who retains a minority interest in the paper, will remain around to provide advice.
The Observer’s new owner is the son of Charles Kushner.once a very important and powerful New Jersey real estate developer who went to jail last year after an investigation of his political contributions – which resulted in him pleading guilty to 18 counts of tax evasion and making illegal political contributions. The editor of the Observer Peter Kaplan, who has been in the job 12 years, in a message to the staff, said that he had received an assurance from the new owner that editorially the paper is still in the hands of the present staff. Kaplan added that the new owner represents the 2lst Century in the newspaper industry. “In that sense his age is a huge asset, he is not weighed down by the debris of conventional wisdom,” He added “He is a very smart, accomplished young man.”
Since the paper’s founder, Arthur Carter, began seeking buyers for the Observer a number of well-known businessmen and companies have shown interest – among them the Guardian Media group and most recently a film development group headed by actor Robert De Niro – but none of the deals came to fruition,