Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. looks increasingly backed into a corner. Bloomberg yesterday marshaled a wide array of evidence, including quotes from analysts and the mounting cost to hedge against a Times Co. bond default, to establish that the company's bonds are close to falling to junk status. The already-bludgeoned stock quickly fell another 6 percent. Implicated in the credit deterioration: The company's decision last year to hike its dividend payout 23 percent, a move no doubt popular with Sulzberger's stockholdling relatives but one that is gobbling up nearly all the company's free cash flow. The family has already conceded board seats to the corporate marauders from Harbinger Capital Partners and an affiliated partnership, and Harbinger now controls nearly 20 percent of the company. Sulzberger faces some unsavory choices — cut the dividend, slash costs (probably via layoffs) or flirt with selling junk bonds — all of which carry the whiff of defeat. He is running out of room to maneuver.