TOUGH TIMES

The NY Times' Deal with the Devil

Take a look at the New York Times deal with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and the cliché of "You play with fire, you're going to get burned" seems all too true. The details, reveled in the Times' latest SEC filing, show how Slim set up the $250 million loan over six years much to his advantage. For starters, the loan required the Times to give Slim a cool $4.5 million up front. After that, the Times faces a brutal 14 percent interest rate on the loan that will add up to $210 million over the six years, meaning "the cost of (the) money...is almost as much as the money itself." In addition to this, Slim set up the deal so that the paper did not go deeper in debt by investing in its newsroom—an agreement sure to irk journalists. Overall, the loan comes out looking sweet for Slim, and brutal for the "old gray lady." Does this mean the Ochs-Sulzberger family ownership will be cornered or pushed out?