NEW YORK - The New York Times Co. is in talks with billionaire Carlos Slim Helu about a possible investment of hundreds of millions of dollars that could help the newspaper publisher to meet debt payments, according to published reports. The New York Times, citing anonymous sources, reported in Monday's editions that Slim is close to a deal to invest about $250 million in the company. The company's board was expected to meet on Monday to approve the deal, with an announcement possible as early as Tuesday, the newspaper reported. A spokeswoman for The New York Times declined to comment Sunday. The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported Saturday that no deal is set and that discussions between the paper and Slim, the owner of Mexico's telephone giant Telmex, could still collapse. The Times had about $46 million in cash and $1.1 billion in debt as of the end of September, the Times reported. A $400 million loan expires in May. In September, the financier and members of his family purchased 6.4 percent of the company's publicly traded shares. The Times said the value of Slim's investment has since fallen to $58 million from $128 million. Forbes last year named Slim as the world's second-richest man. The Ochs-Sulzberger family owns a controlling interest in the company through special voting shares. The hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners holds a 19.9 percent stake in the company, which publishes its namesake paper, The Boston Globe and other properties. The Times said Slim's investment in the company would be in the form of 10-year bonds with warrants convertible to common shares. Slim also would receive a special dividend up to or exceeding 10 percent of his investment. Slim would get no representation on the company's board or special voting rights. But when he exercises the warrants, he would own about one-third of the company's common stock, becoming its largest shareholder, according to the Times. The company has been trying to conserve cash. In November it slashed its quarterly dividend by 74 percent. And it has plans to raise $225 million from its new, 52-story Manhattan headquarters, either by selling the building and leasing it back or a mortgage. The company owns 58 percent of the building, a portion that has not yet been mortgaged. The company also put its stake in the Boston Red Sox up for sale.