Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecoms billionaire, gave the New York Times $250m last night. With this money, the Times stands a better chance of refinancing $400m-worth of debts in May.
But look at the jaw-dropping interest rate Slim wants in return: 14%.
When it bailed out Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and HBOS in October, the Treasury took preference shares in return. These paid HM Government an interest rate of 12%.
That fee was described as “usurious” by the banks, who wouldn’t recognise a gift horse if it kicked them in the face.
They should try running a newspaper company.