Paper considers $250 million offer
With an eye toward the foundering ad market and the expiration of a $400 million credit facility coming in May, the New York Times Co. is considering an investment offer of $250 million from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.The Times board convened Monday; if the deal is approved, an announcement is expected today. The deal would mark Slim’s second massive cash infusion into the troubled broadsheet in the past six months. In September, he acquired 9.1 million shares, or 6.4%, of New York Times stock for some $127 million. Since then, New York Times shares have plummeted 52%, reducing the value of Slim’s holding to roughly $58 million. According to the Times’ own report, Slim’s prospective additional investment “resembles a loan” in that it would involve a guaranteed annual yield of up to 10%. It also would include warrants that would be convertible into common shares. The exercise of those warrants would give Slim roughly a third of the common stock, making him the single largest Times shareholder. He is already the company’s third-biggest investor. However, Slim is not expected to gain representation on the company’s board, and his piece of the Times pie would not include any of the “special” voting shares held by the Sulzberger family.
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