Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim increased his stake in The New York Times for the second time in the last two months. It was revealed last week that he purchased another 850,000 shares, bringing his ownership stake to 11.9 million shares, or 8.1% of the company.
Slim, who had previously lent the company $250 million when the Times was under a severe cash squeeze, also owns warrants to purchase another 15.9 million shares which if exercised would boost his ownership of the company’s class A shares to 19%.
According to Bloomberg , Slim spokesman Arturo Elias said in an email that “The New York Times is a great media company, with a great name, excellent content and very good management,” when asked about the additional investment in the paper.
Though there are rumors that Slim’s moves are aimed at taking control of the company, he denied that he is interested in doing so last month in an interview with The Daily Beast. It seems unlikely anyway since the Sulzberger family controls the voting shares of the company and Slim would need them to agree to a sale much like Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of The Wall Street Journal from the Bancroft family.
With a takeover virtually out of the question and the company’s profits in the doldrums it is hard to calculate exactly what Slim sees in the company except for a chance to potentially influence the direction of the newspaper with regard to Mexican affairs.
Slim’s investment in the Times is singlehandedly keeping the stock from totally tanking, but once the warrants expire in 2015 don’t be surprised if he decides to sell out and move on to something more lucrative financially.