Does Carlos Slim Want to Buy the Times?

As dividends dwindle, Mexican billionaire may move in on paper
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2009 7:28 AM CST
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim attends a meeting with Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at the Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007.   (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – Last week Carlos Slim, the world's second-richest man, lent $250 million to the New York Times Company—but why does he want 18% of a tanking media outfit? Advertising Age speculates that the Mexican tycoon is playing a long game: The loan is peanuts to Slim, but it puts him in position to buy the paper if the Sulzberger family decides to sell. "As far as future control, it's unpredictable," said one analyst.

While the Sulzbergers strenuously deny they would ever sell the Times, they may have little choice if the dividends that provide their main income continue to shrink. Some in Mexico are skeptical that Slim, who has never owned a news property, would have any interest in owning the paper, and Slim's spokesman insists the loan is merely an investment. Nonetheless, he is now without rival as the most likely buyer if the Times ever comes on the block, says Ad Age.