[UPDATE BELOW]: Media magnate Rupert Murdoch has never liked the New York Times. In fact, ever since the Times editorialized against his bid to purchase the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch has had "an Ahab-like obsession" with destroying the Gray Lady, according to New York Magazine. And next month he hopes to plunge the final, fatal harpoon into her heart.
The "Raging Septuagenarian" who owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post, among other holdings, has been plotting the "ultimate Times-killer"—an eight-to-sixteen page Wall Street Journal metro section that could challenge the Times in its own backyard as early as next month. Murdoch is reportedly planning to spend about $15 million on the New York City bureau, which has already landed Bloomingdale's and Bergdorf Goodman as advertisers and is being referred to as "Project Amsterdam." "It's a spear-thrust right at the Times, intended to embarrass and bleed the Times," said a Journal editor. "The idea of the New York Times as a burning, sinking ship is something they fantasize about at night."
After buying the Journal for $5 billion in a decision derided by a former News Corp. executive as "the worst deal he ever did," Murdoch has risked alienating longtime Journal readers in a push to transform the publication from a "second-read" business paper to a general interest news source like "an upscale, edgier USA Today," according to the magazine. Though the planned New York City bureau has been characterized as Murdoch's attempt to finishing off the cash-strapped Times, a journalist who interviewed for a position with the new section told Gothamist that there was no talk of the bureau's role as a "Times killer." The source was unsure of how many people would be on staff at the new section, and what kinds of stories writers for the bureau would cover.
When asked about the rivalry between the Times and the Journal, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger dismissed the concept, telling a New York Magazine writer: "Whatever."
Update (4:39 pm): Despite the risk of Murdoch's purported "Times Killer," New York Times shares surged by as much as 9 percent today amidst rumors that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim would purchase the paper, according to Business Insider. Slim already own almost 7 percent of the company and holds warrants for another 15.9 percent after giving the paper a $250 million loan last year, according to the Journal. A spokesman for Slim has denied his boss' interest in purchasing the company, and stock values have slid. "There are no changes," the spokesman said. "These rumors are going to be coming and going all the time."