Could Google be the N.Y. Times salvation?

Now before you get all in an uproar this is pure and unadulterated rumour and speculation being talked about in the blogosphere. The idea that is considering the financial problems that the N.Y. Times is in that this would be a good time for Google to pick up the company. I first heard this today in a post by Susan Mernit; who thinks it is a good idea.

In her post today Susan pointed to an older post she had written back in 2006 where the idea of Google buying up the Old Grey Lady was first being talked about. Her point in this post is that here we are in 2009 and this idea is popping again. Her main reference point is the DealScape blog where Gerald Murphy writes about the idea

For one, John Ellis at RealClear Markets said earlier this year the Sulzbergers would run into the arms of Google to avoid any takeover from Rupert Murdoch, who reportedly covets the Times. Meanwhile, cash-flush Google reportedly would be able to scoop up the Times, which includes prime New York real estate, for $4 billion or possibly less in this declining market. Ellis argues the addition would make sense for Google because it would be able to “make money repurposing the cultural and culinary coverage, to pick just two categories, of the New York Times, across both its Internet and mobile platforms.”

Now as much as the very idea of this happening is probably giving the social media mavens a woodie of their lifetimes I just don’t foresee this happening anytime soon. As Murphy points out as well in his post the Times owners – the Sulzberger family – will do; and borrow, anything they possibly can to keep the paper in family control.

About the only thing that could even possibly change the scales in the favour of anybody would be if Murdoch made a run for the Grey Lady. If that was to happen I think the Sulzberger family would be open to anything – even being bought up by Google.

But I wouldn’t place any bets on it happening.