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Carlos Slim Helu

Carlos Slim Helu

Occupation: businessman

Birthday: January 28, 1940

Age: 81

Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

College: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Nationality: Mexican

Birth Sign: Acquarius

OVERVIEW

Carlos Slim Helú is a Mexican business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He derived his fortune from his extensive holdings in a considerable number of Mexican companies through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso. As of January 2022, he was ranked as the fifteen-richest person in the world according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with a net worth estimated at $73.3 billion, making him the richest person in Latin America.

His conglomerate includes education, health care, industrial manufacturing, transportation, real estate, media, energy, hospitality, entertainment, high-technology, retail, sports and financial services. He accounts for 40% of the listings on the Mexican Stock Exchange, while his net worth is equivalent to about 6 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product. As of 2016, he is the largest single shareholder of The New York Times Company.

Early life

Slim decided at a young age that he wanted to be a businessman, and received business lessons from his father, who taught him finance, management and accounting, teaching him how to read financial statements as well as the importance of keeping accurate financial records.

Carlos Slim

At the age of 11, Slim invested in a government savings bond, which taught him about the concept of compound interest. He eventually saved every financial and business transaction he made into a personal ledger book, which he still keeps. At the age of 12, he made his first stock purchase, of shares in a Mexican bank. By the age of 15, Slim had become a shareholder in Mexico’s largest bank. At the age of 17, he earned 200 pesos a week working for his father’s company. He went on to study civil engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where he also concurrently taught algebra and linear programming.

Carlos Slim teen

He also took economics courses in Chile once he finished his engineering degree. Graduating as a civil engineering major, Slim has stated that his mathematical ability and his background of linear programming was a key factor in helping him gain an edge in the business world, especially when reading financial statements.

Carlos Slim’s Career

1960s

After graduating from college in 1961, Slim began his career as a stock trader in Mexico, often working 14-hour days. In 1965, profits from Slim’s private investments reached $400,000, allowing him to start the stock brokerage Inversora Bursátil. In addition, he also began laying the financial groundwork for Grupo Carso. In 1965, he also bought Jarritos del Sur. In 1966, worth $40 million, he founded Inmobiliaria Carso.

carlos slim marriage

1970s

Companies in the construction, soft drink, printing, real estate, bottling and mining industries were the focus of Slim’s early burgeoning business career. He later expanded into numerous industries including auto parts, aluminium, airlines, chemicals, tobacco, manufacturing of cables and wires, paper and packaging, copper and mineral extraction, tires, cement, retail, hotels, beverage distributors, telecommunications and financial services where Slim’s Grupo Financiero Inbursa – which sells insurance and invests the savings, mutual funds and pension plans of millions of ordinary Mexicans.

carlos slim 1970s

By 1972, he had established or acquired a further seven businesses in these categories, including one which rented construction equipment. In 1980, he consolidated his business interests by forming Grupo Galas as the parent company of a conglomerate that had interests in industry, construction, miningretail, food, and tobacco.

1980s

In 1982, the Mexican economy contracted rapidly. As many banks were struggling and foreign investors were cutting back on investing and scurrying, Slim began investing heavily and bought many flagship companies at depressed valuations. Much of Slim’s business dealings involved a simple strategy, which entails buying a business and retaining it for its cash flow, or eventually selling the stake at a greater profit in future, thereby netting the capital gains as well as reinvesting the initial principal into a new business. In addition, his conglomerate structure allows Slim to purchase numerous stakes across a wide range of industries, thereby making the overall conglomerate nearly recession-proof in the event that one or more sectors of the economy do not do well.

carlos slim 1980

During the Mexican economic downturn before its recovery in 1985, Slim invested heavily. He bought all or a large percentage of numerous Mexican businesses, including Empresas Frisco, a mining and chemicals company, Industrias Nacobre, a copper manufacturer, Reynolds Aluminio, Compania Hulera Euzkadi, Mexico’s largest tire maker, Bimex hotels, and majority share of Sanborn Hermanos food retailer, gift shop and restaurant chain. Slim spent $13 million to buy insurance company Seguros de México in 1984, and later absorbed the company into the firm, Seguros Inbursa. The value of his stake in Seguros eventually became worth $1.5 billion by 2007, after four spinoffs. He also acquired a 40% and 50% interest in the Mexican arms of British American Tobacco and The Hershey Company, respectively as well as acquiring large blocks of Denny’s and Firestone Tires. He moved into financial services as well, buying Seguros de México and creating from it, along with other purchases such as Fianzas La Guardiana and Casa de Bolsa Inbursa, the Grupo Financiero Inbursa. Many of these acquisitions were financed by the revenues and cash flows from Cigatam, a tobacco business which he bought early in the economic downturn.

In 1988, Slim bought the Nacobre group of companies, which trades in copper and aluminum products, along with a chemicals business, Química Fluor, and others.

1990s

Slim made a large fortune in the early 1990s when Mexico privatized its telecom industry and Grupo Carso acquired Telmex from the Mexican government. In 1990 the Grupo Carso was floated as a public company initially in Mexico and then worldwide.

carlso slim 1990s

Grupo Carso also acquired majority ownership of Porcelanite, a tile making company in 1990.

Later in 1990, Slim acted in concert with France Télécom and Southwestern Bell Corporation in order to buy the landline telephone company Telmex from the Mexican government, when Mexico began privatizing its national industries. By 2006, 90 percent of the telephone lines in Mexico were operated by Telmex, and his mobile telephone company, Telcel, which was created out of the Radiomóvil Dipsa company, operated almost 80 percent of all the country’s cellphones.

In 1991, he acquired Hoteles Calinda (now OSTAR Grupo Hotelero), and in 1993, he increased his stakes in General Tire and Grupo Aluminio to the point where he had a majority interest.

In 1996, Grupo Carso was split into three companies: Carso Global Telecom, Grupo Carso, and Invercorporación. In the following year, Slim bought the Mexican arm of Sears Roebuck.

In 1999, Slim began expanding his business interests beyond Latin America. Though the bulk of his holdings still remained in Mexico, he began setting his sights towards the United States for overseas investments.

2000s

Slim became a prominent figure within the American business scene by 2003 when he began purchasing large stakes in a number of major US retailers such as Barnes & NobleOfficeMaxOffice DepotCircuit CityBorders, and CompUSA.

carlos slim 2003

Much of the reason behind Slim’s international expansion was due to a running joke in the Mexican business scene where “there was nothing left to acquire in Mexico”. He eyed towards investing the United States where he set up Telmex USA and also acquired a stake in Tracfone, a US cellular telephone company. At the same time, he established Carso Infraestructura y Construcción, S. A. (CICSA) as a construction and engineering company within Grupo Carso. During the same year, Slim had heart surgery and subsequently passed on much of the day-to-day involvement in the businesses to his children and their spouses.

América Telecom, the holding company for América Móvil, was incorporated in 2000. It took stakes in cellular telephone companies outside of Mexico, including the Brazilian ATL and Telecom Americas concerns, Techtel in Argentina, and others in Guatemala and Ecuador. In subsequent years, there were investment in Latin America, with companies in ColombiaNicaraguaPeruChileHonduras, and El Salvador, as well as a venture with Microsoft.

In 2005 Slim invested in Volaris, a Mexican airlineand established Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo en América Latina SAB de CV (using the acronym “IDEAL”—roughly translated as “Promoter of Development and Employment in Latin America”), a Mexican construction and civil engineering company primarily engaged in not-for-profit infrastructure development. Since 2006, IDEAL won three infrastructure contracts yet it faces stiff competition from a number of other Mexican and Spanish construction companies.

 

In 2007, after having amassed a 50.1% stake in the Cigatam tobacco company, Slim reduced his holdings by selling a large portion of his equity to Philip Morris for $1.1 billion, while in the same year also selling his entire interest in a tile company, Porcelanite, for$800 million. He licensed the Saks name and opened the Mexican arm of Saks Fifth Avenue in Santa Fe, Mexico. During the same year, the estimated value of all of Slim’s companies was at US$150 billion. On 8 December 2007, Grupo Carso announced that the remaining 103 CompUSA stores would be either liquidated or sold, bringing an end to the struggling company, although the IT tech part of CompUSA continued under the name Telvista with U.S. locations in Dallas, Texas (U.S. Corporate Office) and Danville, Virginia. Telvista has five centers in Mexico (three in Tijuana, one center in Mexicali, and one in México City). 

In 2008 Slim took a 6.4% stake valued at $27 million in the New York Times Company. Slim increased his stake to 8% by 2012. Slim’s stake in the Times increased again to 16.8% of the company’s Class A shares on 20 January 2015 when he exercised stock options to purchase 15.9 million shares, making him the largest shareholder in the company. The New York Times Company’s Class A shares are available for purchase by the public and offer less control over the company than Class B shares, which are privately held. According to the company’s 2016 annual filings, Slim owned 17.4% of the company’s Class A shares, and none of the company’s Class B shares.

 

Slim built Plaza Carso in Mexico City, where most of his ventures share a common headquarters address.

2010s

In 2012, Slim sold the broadcast rights for the Leon games to Telemundo in the United States, and the cable channel Fox Sports in Mexico and the rest of Latin America and to the website mediotiempo.com. The games are also broadcast on the Internet through UNO TV, offered by Telmex. Slim has been involved with broadcasting sports outside Mexico to larger markets such as the United States. In March 2012, América Móvil acquired the broadcast rights for the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014 and the Brazil 2016 for Latin America.

In September 2012, Slim bought 30% stakes in Pachuca and León, two Mexican soccer teams through his telecommunications company America Movil. In December 2012, he bought all the shares of the second division team Estudiantes Tecos. Slim has also completed business deals for the television rights to games of the Leon soccer team. His company America Movil purchased 30 percent of the team along with transmission rights as Slim doesn’t have the rights to transmit content by broadcast television or cable TV as well as putting him in competition with Televisa and TV Azteca, two television companies with rights to the rest of Mexican soccer’s first division.

carlos slim bill gates

In July 2013, Slim’s company America Movil invested US$40 million in Shazam, a British commercial mobile phone-based music identification service for an undisclosed share of ownership. America Movil partnered with the company to aid its growth into advertising and television and help the audio recognition service expand in Latin America.

In November 2013, Slim invested US$60 million in the Israeli startup Mobli, a company that deals with connections between people and communities corralled according to different interests.

In December 2013, Slim’s private equity fund, Sinca Inbursa, sold its stake in Mexican pharmaceutical company Landsteiner Scientific. Slim had acquired a 27.51 stake in the company in June 2008, which represented 6.6 percent of Sinca’s investment portfolio. The private equity fund’s investments are mainly in transportation and infrastructure and the fund had a total market cap of 5.152 billion pesos at the end of 2012.

Slim was criticized by the Dutch minister of economic affairs, Henk Kamp, in 2013 for attempting to expand his telecom empire beyond the Americas by América Móvil’s buy-out offer to KPN, a Dutch landline and mobile telecommunications company.  America Movil now controls a 21.1 percent stake of KPN with a market value of 3.1 billion euros as of 20 May 2015. Slim has been slowly decreasing his holdings since he was forced to withdraw a 7.2-billion-euro bid for the Dutch phone line carrier in 2013 after negotiations broke down.

In 2014, Slim took control of Telekom Austria, Austria’s biggest phone carrier, which has telcos in countries such as Bulgaria, Croatia and Belarus, under a 10-year agreement, was Slim’s first successful business acquisition in Europe. 

In January 2015, Grupo Carso publicly launched Claro Musica, an online music service that is a Latin American equivalent of iTunes and Spotify. Slim and his son increased their presence in Mexico’s music industry, particularly in the retail music industry since 2013. Sanborn’s, the Mexican retail department store chain owned by Slim controls a majority stake in Mixup, Mexico’s most successful retail music store that comprises a chain 117-store.

carlos slim real estate

In March 2015, Slim began to set his sights on Spain, purchasing Spanish real estate at rock-bottom prices within the ailing Spanish economy. Slim has also been buying up stakes in various troubled Spanish corporations while eyeing various investments across Europe. Slim’s investment company, Inmobiliaria Carso, announced it will buy a stake in the Spanish banking conglomerate Bankia, which couples with Slim’s other purchase of Realia, a Spanish real estate company, where Slim is the second largest shareholder holding a 25% equity stake, behind Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, a construction company where Slim is also a minor shareholder.

On 15 April 2015, Slim formed his own oil company called Carso Oil & Gas. A report that was released by the new company listed its assets at 3.5 billion pesos (approximately US$230 million), placed within 17.7 million shares. Upon formation of the company, Slim remained sanguine about the company and Mexico’s burgeoning energy sector where the state monopoly ceased to exist.

In 2015, Slim’s investment group Control Empresarial de Capitales invested in IMatchative, a technology startup that ranks the world’s hedge funds creating in-depth behavioral profiles and business analytics. Limited partners pay $30,000 per subscription while hedge fund managers pay half the price and also sign up for a free version of the products the company offers.

Carlos Slim ‘s Net Worth: $72 Billion

Slim controls America Movil, the largest mobile-phone operator in Latin America. The Mexico City-based company had revenue of $47.6 billion in 2020. Slim also has stakes in the New York Times and commercial banks. Through his family’s investment vehicle Grupo Carso, he has interests in the Mexican construction industry.

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Carlos Slim’s homes

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