Emergencies make strange bedfellows. Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire, will put $250 million into The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT). According to The New York Times, "Under the terms of the deal, Mr. Slim, who already owns 6.9 percent of the Times Company, would invest $250 million in the form of six-year notes with warrants that are convertible into common shares." The notes carry a 14% interest rate, which makes them the equivalent of junk debt.
If Slim lived in the US, The Times writers would beat him like a rented mule because of his close, some say too close, ties to the Mexican government. These cozy relationships are often viewed as one of the reasons he has done so well financially.
Forbes reports that Slim may be well-regarded outside Mexico, "But not in Mexico, where the media and the masses long have held a sneaking suspicion that there is something shady about Slim. He is decried as a rapacious monopolist who built his empire on cozy ties to Mexican presidents and other politicians."
Slim is a perfect target for investigative reporting, something The Times prides itself on. But, the paper needs the money, so Slim's potential conflicts of interest in his own country will be overlooked.
Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.