Saturday, January 17, 2009

Death Watch: New Entrant - New York Times

The WSJ reports ($$$ link) that Mexican billionaire (or is that millionaire now, we need to double check) Carlos Slim Helu may bail out the New York Times. The Mexican who bought 6.4% of the company 4 months ago, at ridiculously higher prices, may be the last chance for the newspaper publisher, which is doing everything it can to raise a few bucks, including a sale leaseback of its HQ building and is considering "various other financing alternatives including private placements".

Couple of questions. Where is major shareholder Phil Falcone in all this. More importantly, where is Scott Galloway, our winner of the "There can be only one" nomination. Lastly, will the Sulzbergers, who watch as their crumbling empire is worth less and less each day, be willing to cede control? We will know soon - the clock is ticking on the May 28 maturity of a $400 million Term Loan. In the meantime, if you are a gambling person, take a look at some NYT CDS - wrapped around 1000, it is roughly 3000 bps cheaper than fellow Death List participant McClatchy. On $10 million notional you would make a cool $4.3 million if the two end up trading side by side.
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