The New York Times might not have figured out its long-term strategy to survive just yet, but Fortune columnist Allan Sloan discovered that someone working for the company is a genius when it comes to taxes.
The Times this week said it will borrow $250 million from companies controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, also the world's second-richest man. Slim also is getting warrants that he can convert into stock, something that will make him one of the company's largest shareholders. Aside from questions about whether he will take over the TImes, the aspect of the Slim deal that turned business reporters' heads was the crazy interest that the Times will pay -- 14 percent.
Sloan has a way of explaining how there is a way around this. Here are some excerpts, but for the full effect, go read his column. While Sloan is a master of converting complicated financial practice into plain English, this one is pretty tough for the layman.
The Times will use "HYDO" (pronounced HI-dough, and it stands for "high-yield discount obligation), junk securities issued at a discount to their face value.
The $250 million of Slim notes yielded the company $250 million - but as part of the deal the Slim outfits got a fat slug of stock-purchase rights, known as warrants, that the Times Co. valued at $21,147,000 in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.