Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim more than doubles New York Times stake
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim in October 2014Reuters

Carlos Slim, the world's second-richest man, became the largest individual shareholder in the New York Times Company on 14 January after exercising options that more than doubled his stake in the media firm to 16.8%.

Slim exercised warrants to acquire 15.9 million shares of the company's class A stock at a price of $6.3572 per share, according to a 14 January Times statement, a substantial discount to the market price.

The Mexican billionaire spent about $101.1m (£66.5m, €85.9m) on the deal and now holds a total of 27.8 million Class A shares valued at $341.4m at 14 January's closing price.

The NYSE-traded New York Times' stock finished 3.69% lower at $12.28 on 14 January, valuing the firm at $1.91bn.

Slim controlled just under 8% of the Times prior to Wednesday's move.

The Times said it plans to use the cash proceeds to execute a share buyback programme. The company has "an authorisation from its Board to repurchase Class A shares for an aggregate repurchase price up to the $101.1m of exercise proceeds", the statement added.

Times chief executive Mark Thompson said: "We believe a share repurchase program in this instance is an appropriate use of the cash proceeds we will receive upon the exercise of the warrants and the issuance of the Class A shares. We believe it is in the best interests of the company to continue to maintain a conservative balance sheet and a prudent view on the allocation of free cash flow, and this one-off repurchase program should not be viewed as a change of position about our capital allocation plans."

Slim bagged the options after he lent the paper $250m in January 2009 to help it navigate the financial crisis.