New York Times shares fell about 3 percent on a CNBC report that Morgan Stanleymay be selling 10 million shares of the company.
If true, the sale would end Morgan Stanley Investment Management Managing Director Hassan Elmasry's campaign to change the Times' corporate governance structure and secure equal voting rights for all shareholders.
"They're wasting their time," Benchmark Co. analyst Ed Atorino said of activist shareholders seeking to fight the New York Times.
The Times declined comment. Elmasry representatives were not immediately reachable.
U.S. newspaper publishers have faced growing shareholder discontent as the value of their shares have fallen in recent years from a decline in circulation and advertising revenue.
The New York Times, similar to other family-controlled businesses, operates in a dual class share structure that solidifies family control of the company.
"There's a 10 million share block that went up," CNBC reporter David Faber said on-air. "I'm hearing, I don't know for certain and cannot confirm at this point, that it is Morgan Stanley."
Faber also said the sellers could possibly be shareholders T. Rowe Price Associates or Private Capital Management, the No. 1 and 4 top shareholders. But CNBC said it was more likely to be Morgan Stanley.