Carlos Slim, the elusive Mexican billionaire who bailed out the New York Times to the tune of $250 million, is betting that the Times will be one of a very few major-league news organizations left standing when the current newspaper shakeout is over, Lawrence Wright writes in a profile of Slim in the New Yorker. That would put the paper in line with the business strategy that has made Slim one of the world's richest men: "putting his money on a monopoly."
Of Lebanese descent, Slim is an anomaly among Mexican tycoons: he lives modestly, drives his own Ford SUV (bodyguards follow), dresses in off-the-rack Sears suits (he owns Sears in Mexico), and is an avid Yankees fan (he spent the summer of '64 in New York). Brilliant at buying in economic downturns and excelling at "crony capitalism," Slim and his heirs control some 40% of the companies on the Mexican stock market. And he is poised to become the key player at the Times if the paper continues to flounder, which looks increasingly likely. "If you told me we're going to file for bankruptcy in 10 months, I'd find that plausible," a Times business writer tells Wright. (Read more Carlos Slim stories.)