Billionaire Slim Boosts Stakes in NYT as Market Slumps

Mexican Tycoon Pays $6.83 to $7.09 for 553,000 Times Co. Shares

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Billionaire Carlos Slim spent $8.8 million to boost his stakes in Saks, Inc. and The New York Times Co., adding to his biggest U.S. holdings as the stock market slumped last week.

Carlos Slim
Carlos Slim Credit: AP

Mr. Slim's Inmobiliaria Carso SA investment fund bought 621,000 Saks shares on Aug. 18 for prices ranging from $7.72 to $8.01, according to regulatory filings yesterday. The Mexican billionaire paid $6.83 to $7.09 for 553,000 Times Co. shares the same day.

Named the world's richest man for a second year in a row in March by Forbes magazine, Mr. Slim is following his long-held strategy of adding to his investments when markets slump. Mr. Slim's publicly disclosed holdings are worth about $62 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Those holdings have declined by about $9.5 billion, or 13%, from July 29 through yesterday, in line with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

Arturo Elias, Mr. Slim's spokesman, didn't return phone and email messages yesterday seeking comment.

About 63% of Mr. Slim's holdings are in America Movil SAB, the largest mobile-phone carrier in the Americas. Most of his publicly disclosed wealth comes from Mexican companies he controls, including a bank, a retail chain and a construction firm.

Mr. Slim, who had been Saks' largest shareholder before the purchases and last acquired the New York-based retailer's shares in April 2009, raised his stake to 16% from 15.7%. The Times Co. acquisition boosted his stake in the New York company's Class A shares to 7.2% from 6.9%. Times Co.'s controlling family owns most of the Class B shares, which carry the right to elect 70% of the board of directors.

Saks, Mr. Slim's biggest disclosed investment outside Mexico, has fallen 24% this year before today as investors anticipate a reduction in demand as U.S. economic growth sputters. Times Co. has dropped 33% over the same span.

Saks rose 9 cents yesterday to $8.08 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, its second day of gains after falling to $7.81 on Aug. 18, its lowest close since September 2010. Times Co. hit its lowest close since July 2009 on Aug. 18 and has continued to slide, dropping 8 cents yesterday to $6.55.

Mr. Slim's Grupo Carso SAB operates two Saks stores in Mexico City through a licensing agreement with the retailer, according to the Mexican company's 2010 annual report.

Mr. Slim has no similar partnership with Times Co. and has said he is a financial investor with no desire to control the publisher. Last month, Times Co. said it is repaying a $250 million loan granted by Mr. Slim earlier than planned.

Mr. Slim's only other U.S. holding disclosed to regulators is a stake of less than 1% in Philip Morris International, the cigarette seller on whose board he sits.

Last week, Saks posted a second-quarter loss of $8.4 million after restructuring costs, narrowing from $32.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

-- Bloomberg News --

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