An eccentric mainland recycling magnate says he is preparing to open negotiations to buy the New York Times Co. Chen Guangbiao often makes the headlines. During a particularly bad bout of pollution in January last year, the philanthropist handed out cans of "fresh air". Jiangsu-based Chen said on Tuesday he had been contemplating buying the media company for more than two years and expected to discuss the matter on Sunday with a "leading shareholder" in New York. "There's nothing that can't be bought for the right price," he said. With its status, The New York Times is an occasional target among the wealthy. Flamboyant property tycoon Donald Trump had tried to figure out a way to buy the Times early last year, New York magazine reported. It is unlikely that the Times, which has long been controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family, would sell to Chen. A spokeswoman said the company did not comment on rumours. Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jnr said recently that the company was not for sale. Chen, who heads Jiangsu Huangpu Recycling Resources, believes the Times is worth US$1 billion, but said he would be willing to negotiate. Its current market value is US$2.4 billion. "If we act in sincerity and good faith, I believe the Times chairman will change his way of thinking," he said. Chen said if he was unable to buy the company he would settle for becoming a controlling stakeholder, and failing that, would simply buy a stake. The New York Times Co, which once was a sprawling media outfit with television stations and US regional newspapers, is now down to its namesake newspaper. The Ochs-Sulzberger family has owned the Times for more than 100 years and controls it through a trust of Class B shares with special voting rights. "It's not true that everything is for sale," said Ken Doctor, an analyst with Outsell Research. "That is the reason why the New York Times has a two-class share system." Hurun's Rich List of China's super-wealthy put Chen's wealth at about US$740 million in 2012. He said he would not hesitate to sell off most of his assets if it enabled him to buy the Times. But Chen said that because his funds were limited, he had persuaded an unnamed Hong Kong tycoon to put in US$600 million. Chen said his aim was not to push any political agenda, but rather his personal ideals of "peace on earth, protecting the environment and philanthropy." He attracted attention in August 2012 when he bought a half-page advertisement in the Times stating that the Diaoyu islands at the centre of a dispute with Japan had belonged to China since antiquity. "After that, I realised that the Times ' influence all over the world is incredibly vast," he said. "Every government and embassy, all around the world, pays attention to The New York Times ." The Times angered the Chinese government in 2012 with a report about the wealth of former premier Wen Jiabao. The Times website has been blocked there since then. Chen said it was natural for the government to block the site because the report on Wen "contained biased and negative things that were not verified".