Greek-born billionaire John Catsimatidis said on Thursday he wants to buy CNN from its parent Warner Bros. Discovery.
“I’d go run the place tomorrow morning, and all I’d want is $1 per year and a piece of the upside,” the owner of New York City supermarket chain Gristedes Foods and the Red Apple Group, a real estate and aviation company, told the New York Post in an interview.
Catsimatidis, who is an outspoken Trump supporter, did not share details of his potential offer, only saying that financing wouldn’t be a problem.
“It’s up to the investment bankers to come up with the numbers,” he told the outlet.
“We could always bring partners in, but I want to run the place,” he added. “We are capable of putting down a substantial amount of money.”
Catsimatidis: “I’m going to make an offer to buy back CNN”
Catsimatidis — who is the 702nd-wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of $4.1 billion, per Forbes — claimed he could double CNN‘s profits in a short time, according to the Post.
Catsimatidis first talked about his potential CNN bid during a Thursday morning appearance on radio station 77 WABC, where he said: “You heard it first here. I’m going to make an offer to buy back CNN.”
“Is that true, seriously?” asked host Sid Rosenberg, to which Catsimatidis shot back: “Seriously.”
Earlier in the week embattled CNN CEO Chris Licht stepped down from his role in the aftermath of a brutal profile of his leadership.
Licht apologized to employees on Monday after the publication of an explosive Atlantic magazine profile last week that revealed, among other damaging scenes, that the chief executive had known that the crowd at a widely criticized town hall with former president Donald Trump last month would prove to be “extra Trumpy”.
According to the Atlantic, Licht was also critical of CNN under his predecessor, Jeff Zucker, telling employees the network alienated viewers through hostility to Trump.
In 2019, Catsimatidis bought 77 WABC, a conservative radio station, for $12.5 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Born on the Greek island of Nisyros
Catsimatidis was born on the Greek island of Nisyros on September 7, 1948. He came to the United States with his parents when he was six months old. The family moved to West Harlem, where Catsimatidis grew up.
Catsimatidis’ father had been a lighthouse operator in Greece but worked as a busboy in New York.
He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1966. He received a congressional nomination to West Point, but chose to study electrical engineering at New York University instead.
In the past he had expressed interest in investing in Greece, including buying the Hilton hotel, located in central Athens, offering the amount of 93 million euros.
As he notes on his personal site, he has now lived the American dream. He is a firm believer in giving back to the community and has been a strong supporter of the Police Athletic League for nearly 30 years.
He serves on the Board of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, and over the years served in a variety of volunteer positions in the Greek Orthodox Church.