Even after The New York Times paid back its quarter-billion dollar loan from Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helú back in July, there's been speculation about whether the second largest shareholder in The Times ultimately plans on becoming a global media mogul and snatching up the paper of record--a theory that resurfaced last month when Slim increased his ownership stake in the company to 7.5 percent. But, as The Washington Post's Anup Kaphle points out on Twitter, the last few paragraphs of a Daily Beast piece today on the world's richest man suggest that Slim's interest in The Times may be purely financial--one investment among many--as Slim himself has often suggested. When The Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove asks Slim what he thinks of The Times's new editor, Jill Abramson, Slim responds, "I'm sorry. Who?" Isn't that something you'd think he'd know if he were trying to control The Times?
Slim tells Grove that he's investing in The Times because it's a strong company and brand. "Now they're doing buybacks and the dividend is so high, etc., and they're managing the newspaper in a very good way," he explains. "We are not speculating. We are there for a long time." The sentiment is in keeping with what an unnamed Times writer told The New Yorker in a 2009 article exploring whether Slim had designs on the paper: "If this was Rupert Murdoch or Sumner Redstone or Michael Eisner or David Geffen, you would say, 'Oh, I get this.' But this is Carlos, and he's totally about the economics." When The New Yorker asked Slim if he read the Times, he admitted, "Only when I'm in the U.S." Maybe next time he's in town Slim will congratulate Abramson for what she's done with the paper.