New York, Sept.12 : Mexican magnate Carlos Slim's purchase of six per cent of the "Old Grey Lady", as the New York Times is referred to from time to time, has triggered more speculation about the sale of the newspaper.
According to the NYT, Slim clawed himself back to the No 2 spot on the world's rich list with purchases that stretch from cigarette manufacturers, to restaurant chains, to car parts distributors, to - most lucratively - telecoms companies.
And when he puts down 120 million dollars, people take notice. When that bet is on a 6.4 per cent holding in the beacon of the United States newspaper business, The New York Times Company, people take a lot of notice. The New York Times is looking a bit wrinkled around the eyes at the moment, and the investors who once loved her, have slipped away, despairing of the future of the newspaper industry.
So the question that begs asking is what does Slim see in her? The company's shares perked up noticeably yesterday on news of his interest. His purchase of 9.1 million shares had been disclosed in a late-hours regulatory filing on Wednesday, which declared the investment a passive stake.
Slim has another newspaper industry interest: a stake of more than 1 per cent in Independent News and Media, owner of The Independent.
The billionaire told reporters that his interest in The New York Times Co was purely "financial".