Firings, Takeover Rumors at the ‘New York Daily News’

TD Ameritrade founders said to have interest

The New York Daily News might have moved to upgraded digs recently, but the New York Post’s Keith Kelly is keeping speculation alive that owner Mort Zuckerman could be on the verge of handing the reins over to someone else.

Earlier this week, senior vice president of sales Joe Stella, a 24-year veteran of the Daily News, was let go, leading to rumors that there could be more firings to come. Stella was said to be responsible for movie, entertainment, and auto advertising, and was the No. 2 ad executive, says Kelly.

At the same time, there's been buzz within the company that a hyperlocal Manhattan website called DNA Info could be contemplating a takeover of the paper. Kelly, noting that the acquisition would be “akin to a minnow swallowing a whale,” points out that the website is bankrolled by the billionaire Ricketts family, which founded TD Ameritrade. Fueling the rumor: DNA Info has hired some veteran journalists recently, and its key backer (and former TD Ameritrade CEO and chairman), Joe Ricketts, is “intrigued by the digital news business,” says Kelly.

When questioned about the rumors of the Ricketts family’s interest in his newspaper, Zuckerman reportedly said, “I never heard of them. I never met them. I never had dinner with them. The first time I heard of them was when a reporter named Keith Kelly called me up and asked me about them.”