New York Times seeks help from Mexican billionaire

The New York Times, beset by mounting debts and declining income from advertising, is reported to be seeking additional investment from a Mexican billionaire.

According to the Wall Street Journal, management at the paper are in talks with Carlos Slim, said to be the second richest person the world.

If they successfully persuade Slim, it would be the second time in recent months that he has made a major investment in the New York Times.

In September, he bought a 6.4 per cent stake in the company for about $118m (£80m).

The 68-year-old tycoon, who made his fortune in the telecommunications industry, is the major shareholder in Telemex, which controls about 90 per cent of Mexico’s land-based telephone service and 70 per cent of the country’s mobile phone service.

A further investment in the New York Times would make him one of the largest shareholders in the company outside the Sulzberger family.

The publisher, once the most rock-solid in the American newspaper business, is under increasing financial pressure. Just last month, the paper reported a 21 per cent drop in advertising income.

In May, it is faced with a $400m (£270m) expiring credit line. Lately, the title has embarked on a number of moves to expand its credit line, including an attempt to sell a 60 per cent stake in its new 52-storey Manhattan HQ for $225m (£152m).

Other measures included the possible sale of newspaper and sports properties in Boston, the introduction for the first time of ads on the front page of the New York Times, redundancies at its Boston papers, and a cutback in the payment of investor dividends.

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