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Wed, Jan 21, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Mexican billionaire extends New York Times Company a financial lifeline

AFP , NEW YORK

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim on Monday agreed to provide the cash-strapped New York Times Company a US$250 million loan to stave off mounting debts, the newspaper company said.

Slim will invest US$250 million in the form of six-year notes carrying a 14 percent interest rate, the New York Times reported on its Web site.

The loan from telecoms tycoon Slim, who already owns 6.9 percent of the Times Company, comes as the media powerhouse is struggling to meet approaching deadlines to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.

However, Slim, one of the wealthiest people in the world, will not be represented on the company’s board, the Times said. Control will remain with the ruling Sulzberger family, the newspaper indicated.

The Times company needs to refinance a US$400 million credit line expiring in May.

The company has put up for sale its stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball team and said last year that it wants to raise up to US$225 million by borrowing against its Manhattan skyscraper headquarters.

The US newspaper industry is in freefall due to the recession’s impact on advertising and the defection of both advertisers and readers to the Internet.

Advertising revenue for the New York Times Media Group, which also includes The International Herald Tribune, fell 21.2 percent in November last year compared to the same month last year.

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