The New York Times is set to pay off a $250 million loan from Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helú in August, three and a half years earlier than scheduled.
Times CEO Janet Robinson said in a statement that the company has significantly strengthened its cash position in the last two years. "Inmobiliaria Carso and Banco Inbursa instinctively understood the strength of the Times Company and provided financing during a volatile time in the U.S. economy and in our industry," she said. He will receive a total of $279 million, and currently owns one of the largest individual stakes in the company outside of the controlling Sulzberger family.
The company borrowed the controversial loan from Slim, the world's richest man, at a 14% interest rate in January 2009. The billionaire is known for his monopoly of the Mexican telecommunications industry and for heavy-handed treatment of the press, which caused some raised eyebrows when the paper took on the loan. In 2010, the Times notably lacked coverage of a lawsuit involving Slim and two of Mexico's biggest telecom giants.
Overall, the Times reduced its debt from from $1.1 billion in 2008 to $670 million in 2010. Spikes in digital revenue have tempered declines in print advertising, resulting in the company's first revenue increase since 2007 last July. Earlier this year, the newspaper also launched a paywall, the results of which it has claimed to be very happy with.