Mexican billionaire Slim buys stake in The New York Times

September 12th, 2008 - 12:37 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Sep 11 (DPA) Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has bought a stake in one of the US’ oldest newspapers, The New York Times, stock exchange authorities said Thursday.Slim - ranked by Forbes magazine in March as the world’s second-richest man with an estimated wealth of $60 billion behind Warren Buffett - bought a 6.4 percent stake in The New York Times Co, which remains controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family.

“It is a great company that has an attractive value today,” Slim’s spokesman Arturo Elias Ayub told Bloomberg in a telephone interview. “The door is always open to assess whether we will buy more.”

Ayub described the move as “a financial investment”.

The value of the company’s stock has fallen nearly 30 percent over the past year.

Slim’s surprising move increased the pressure on the Ochs-Sulzberger family.

Earlier this year, they had to grant two seats in the board to investment groups Harbinger Capital and Firebrand Partners. They are the largest stake holders in The New York Times’ parent company after the Ochs-Sulzbergers, and they have been pressing for greater earnings.

With his purchase, Slim, 68, becomes one of the largest stakeholders in the company, and it remained to be seen whether he would seek to influence its everyday business or would just passively wait for a revaluation of its share value.

The NYT group also owns The Boston Globe and several other US newspapers.

For the first time in its history, The NYT scrapped newsroom jobs this year. It is under great pressure from its direct competitor The Wall Street Journal, owned by Australian-born media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

Slim’s huge fortune is based on telecommunications. He owns Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) and cellphone operator America Movil.

The Mexican tycoon has a history of buying stock in companies that are having financial trouble.

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