Mexican magnate Carlos Slim and the Italian group Proto will be the principal shareholders of the U.S. daily The New York Times (NYT), sources at the Proto Organization told Efe.

"This agreement for joint participation in 19 percent of NYT capital was taken yesterday in New York by Carlos Slim and Alessandro Proto (president of the group), and will be finalized next week," the sources said.

The sources declined to reveal the value of the operation, but said that together they will possess 19 percent of the capital, with Slim holding 17 percent and Proto 2 percent.

They said that with this operation the two become the newspaper's principal shareholders, while noting that the editorial line will remain in the hands of the original shareholders, the Ochs-Sulzberger family.

In a communique, Proto said that the sale of The Washington Post to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos confirms the idea that traditional groups cannot continue to operate major media on their own, but need solid support to withstand the transition.

For that reason, Proto Organization and its president, Alessandro Proto, friend of Carlos Slim, decided to back the purchase of the principal share of The New York Times, the note said.

Proto is a shareholder of Prisa in Spain, of the British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB) in Britain and the Rizzoli-Corriere della Sera Group in Italy.

Slim loaned the NYT $250 million during the 2009 economic crisis, after the paper met with financial difficulties due to the decline in ad revenues. EFE