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Carlos Slim

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For his son, see Carlos Slim Domit.
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Slim and the second or maternal family name is Helú.
Carlos Slim
Carlos Slim Helú.jpg
Carlos Slim, Chair of Grupo Carso, arriving in the Presidential Palace for a meeting with Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on October 24, 2007
Born Carlos Slim Helú
(1940-01-28) January 28, 1940 (age 75)
Mexico City, Mexico
Residence Mexico City, Mexico
Nationality Mexican
Education Civil Engineering
Alma mater Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Occupation Chairman & CEO of Telmex, América Móvil, Samsung Mexico and Grupo Carso
Known for World's wealthiest person (2007, 2010-2013)
Net worth Increase US$76.7 billion (April 2015)[1]
Religion Maronite Catholicism[2]
Spouse(s) Soumaya Domit (m. 1967; died 1999)
Children Carlos
Marco Antonio
Everétt Patrick
Soumaya
Vanessa
Johanna
Parent(s) Julián Slim Haddad (deceased)
Linda Helú

Carlos Slim Helú (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkaɾlos esˈlim eˈlu]; born January 28, 1940) is a Mexican business magnate, investor, and philanthropist.[3][4] From 2010 to 2013, Slim was ranked as the richest person in the world.[5] Known as the "Warren Buffett of Mexico",[6][7][8][9][10][11] Slim oversees a vast business empire that is influential in every sector of the Mexican economy and accounts for 40% of the listings on the Mexican Stock Exchange.[12] He derived his fortune from his extensive holdings in a considerable number of Mexican companies through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso.[13] The conglomerate comprises a diverse portfolio of businesses from a wide array of industries that include telecommunications, education, health care, industrial manufacturing, food and beverages, real estate, airlines, media, mining, oil, hospitality, entertainment, technology, retail, sports and financial services.[3][4][12] Currently, Slim is the chairperson and chief executive of telecommunications companies Telmex and América Móvil.

América Móvil, which was Latin America's largest mobile-phone carrier in 2010, accounted for around US$49 billion of Slim's wealth by the end of that year.[14] His net worth as of March 2015 is estimated at US$71.2 billion.[1]

Early life[edit]

Slim was born January 28, 1940 in Mexico City, Mexico,[15] to Maronite Catholic parents, Julián Slim Haddad and Linda Helú, both of Lebanese descent.[16][17] His father, born Khalil Salim Haddad Aglamaz, emigrated to Mexico from Lebanon (then part of the Ottoman Empire) at the age of 14 in 1902 and changed his name to Julián Slim Haddad.[16] It was not uncommon for Lebanese children to be sent abroad before they reached the age of 15 to avoid being conscripted into the Ottoman Army; four of Haddad's older brothers were already living in Mexico at the time of his arrival.[18] In August 1926, Julián Slim and Linda Helú married. They had six children: Nour, Alma, Julián, José, Carlos and Linda, with Carlos being the fifth of six children. Julián senior died in 1953, when Slim was just 13 years old.[18] Carlos Slim's mother, Linda Helú Atta, was born in Parral, Chihuahua, of Lebanese parents who had immigrated to Mexico in the late 19th century. Her parents upon immigrating to Mexico had founded one of the first Arabic language magazines for the Lebanese-Mexican community, using a printing press they had brought with them.[18]

In 1911, Julián established a dry goods store, La Estrella del Oriente (The Star of the Orient). Estrella de Oriente was an important dry goods store located on Venustiano Carranza where it had merchandise worth more than US$100,000 by January 21, 1921, only ten years after the business was founded.[19] By 1921, he had began investing in real estate in the flourishing commercial district of Mexico City where Julian would acquire prime real estate at fire sale prices and in Zocalo District.[6] By 1922, Julián’s net worth reached $1,012,258 pesos and was diversified within various assets including real estate, businesses and various stocks.[19] These business ventures became the source of considerable wealth for himself and his family.[18] As a result of financial prosperity of these ventures, his father soon became a prominent, highly accomplished and wealthy businessman, where he was able to make investments during bad economic cycles due to Mexico's frequent economic downturns.[20] Julian was known for his business savvy, strong work ethic, and commitment to traditional Lebanese moral values. Having a deep understanding of business that was considered ahead of his time. One of Julian's many pioneering business concepts was an efficient business as one that sold large volumes at smaller margins, and with payment facilities, factors that are prevalent in many large discount stores today.[19]

Business career[edit]

Slim always knew he wanted to be a businessman and began to develop his business and investment acumen at a young age.[6][21] His father Julian, often taught the young Carlos the value of financial literacy, management and accountability, teaching him how to read financial statements and the importance of keeping accurate financial records, a practice that Slim carries on to this day.[22] Slim received his first business and finance lessons in early childhood, as his father Julián gave each of his children a savings book with their usual weekly allowance in order for them to learn financial literacy by properly managing their income and expenses.[23] Slim and his siblings were taught basic business practices as apprentices by their father. Every Sunday his father taught Carlos basic financial literacy concepts and money management skills by giving him a 5-peso allowance, making it mandatory to record each purchase in a ledger, where Slim would track his own income and expenses via his own financial statements in his ledger.[24][25] His father often reviewed the ledger book with Slim, analysing his expenses, purchases and activities, and by following this rule, Slim managed his finances shrewdly and eventually learned the importance of having a solid background of financial literacy at a young age, lessons that eventually became the foundation for building his own wealth. Business and investments played a major role during Slim's childhood where his first lesson in business, which he soon put into practice by opening his first checking account.[19][22]

Slim's first investment began at the age of 11, where he invested in a government savings bond that taught him about the concept of compound interest. He eventually saved every financial and business transaction he made into his personal ledger book to which he keeps to this day.[25] At the age of 12, he made his first stock purchase, by purchasing shares in a Mexican bank.[26] By the time he was 15, he had become a part shareholder of the largest bank in Mexico.[6] At the age of 17, he earned 200 pesos a week working for his father's company.[27] He went on to study civil engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where he also concurrently taught algebra and linear programming, which meant that he was both a student and professor.[18][19][23]

Though Slim was a civil engineering major because of his fascination for numbers, he also displayed an interest in economics. He took economics courses in Chile once he finished his engineering degree.[21] Graduating as a civil engineering major, Slim has stated that his mathematical prowess 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.[21][22][23][28] After graduating from college in 1961, Slim began to forego a traditional professional career as a civil engineer. Realizing his true calling was business, he began his career as a stock trader in Mexico to hone his business and investment skills, often working 14 hour days.[6] In 1965, 4 years after graduating from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, windfall profits from Slim's private investments reached $400,000 ($2,998,336 today),[29] giving him enough working capital to start his own stock brokerage firm, Inversora Bursátil.[23] In addition, he also began laying the financial groundwork for his then upcoming company Grupo Carso, which initially consisted a real estate holding company, a construction company and a soda bottling plant.[20] In 1965, he incorporated Inversora Bursátil and bought Jarritos del Sur. In 1966, already worth US$40 million ($299,833,650 today),[29][30] he founded Inmobiliaria Carso. Three months later, he married Soumaya Domit Gemayel (the Carso name derives from the first three letters of Carlos and the first two of Soumaya), and they remained married until her death in 1999.[18]

Companies found within the construction, 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 combustion, 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.[20][24] By 1972, he had established or acquired a further seven businesses in these categories, including one which rented construction equipment. In 1976, he branched out by acquiring a 60 percent share of Galas de México, a small printer of cigarette-pack labels for $1 million, and in 1980, he consolidated his business interests by forming Grupo Galas as the parent company of a conglomerate that had interests in industry, construction, mining, retail, food, and tobacco.[18] In 1981, Slim acquired a majority stake in Cigarros la Tabacelera Mexicana (Cigatam), Mexico's second largest producer and marketer of cigarettes, at a fire sale price.[6]

In 1982, the Mexican economy, which had substantially relied on oil exports, contracted rapidly as the price of oil fell and interest rates rose worldwide. Banks and other businesses were nationalized, crippled, or collapsed, and the peso was devalued. The Mexican government defaulted on its foreign debts, and many Mexican investors rushed to expatriate their capital. As many banks were struggling and panicked investors were getting out of the stock market, Slim continue to adopt his father's bargain hunting process by buying businesses that were undervalued and companies at depressed valuations.[6] Buying troubled assets at depressed prices to resell them later at an attractive price is a business strategy that Slim has executed throughout his business career.[31] Having a keen investment eye for value, Slim adhered to his value investment practices with a long history of buying stakes in companies he sees as undervalued.[32] Much of Slim's business dealings involved a simple strategy, which is to buy a business and hang on to it for its cash flow or eventually sell the stake at a greater profit in future netting the capital gains as well as reinvesting the initial principal into a new business.[33] In addition, his conglomerate structure allows Slim to purchase numerous stakes that it is made nearly recession proof if one sector of the economy doesn't do well. Slim also doesn't address the finer details of the business but instead focuses on business fundamentals where his strategy is buy an asset at an undervalued price for its underlying cash flow and eventually sell his stake for greater profit when the asset gains value or simply hang to the business for its cash flow.[33] Between the mid 1960s to the early 1980s, Slim remembered the lessons of thrift he had learned from his father, and he and his growing family lived a modest life, while earnings from Slim's many businesses were re-invested in expansion and more acquisitions. Carlos Slim astutely acquired companies with strong returns on capital he believed were undervalued and skillfully overhauled their management. He diversified methodically in numerous industry sectors across the Mexican economy, investing in real estate, then a construction equipment company, and mining companies. The portfolio of Slim companies grew to include a printing company, a tobacco company and retail stores.[23]

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 producing silver, gold, copper, lead, and zinc from extracted ores, and also chemical products such as hydrofluoric acid and molybdenum for only $50 million, Industrias Nacobre, a manufacturer of copper products, Reynolds Aluminio, Compania Hulera Euzkadi, Mexico's largest tiremaker, 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.[23] The value of his stake in Seguros eventually became worth $1.5 billion by 2007, after four spinoffs.[34] 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.[18][26]

In 1988, Slim added the Nacrobre group of companies – which trade in copper and aluminum products – along with a chemicals business, Química Fluor, and others.[18]

In 1990, the Grupo Carso was floated as a public company initially in Mexico and then worldwide.[18] Grupo Carso also acquired majority ownership of Porcelanite, a tilemaking company in 1990. This investment was assigned to an associated company, but in 1995 Grupo Carso began growing its equity stake to 83 percent and subsequently made it a subsidiary.[26]

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 it's national industries.[18] Slim was one of the initial investors of Telmex, which the revenues of the company eventually formed the bulk of Slim's wealth.[33] 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,[18] operated almost 80 percent of all the country's cellphones.[35] By 2012, América Movil, Slim's mobile telephone company, had taken over Telmex and made it into a privately-held subsidiary.[33]

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.[18]

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.[18] In July 1997, Grupo Carso agreed in principle to sell Procter & Gamble de México, a subsidiary of The Procter & Gamble Co., a manufacturing plant in Apizaco and the company's Lypps, Pampys, and other toilet-tissue brands for about $170 million but kept its tissue-products company Fábricas de Papel Loreto y Peña Pobre.[26]

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. Slim soon began becoming 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 & Noble, OfficeMax, Office Depot, Circuit City, Borders, and CompUSA.[7] Much of reason behind Slim's overseas expansion was due to a running joke in the Mexican business scene where "there was nothing left to acquire in Mexico".[7] 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.[18] 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.[35]

América Telecom, the holding company for América Móvil, was incorporated in 2000. It took stakes in various 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 was further investment in Latin America, with companies in Colombia, Nicaragua, Peru, Chile, Honduras, and El Salvador. 2000 also saw a venture with Microsoft which led to the start of the Spanish T1msn portal, later renamed ProdigyMSN.[18]

In 2005, Slim invested in Volaris, a Mexican airline[18] and established Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo en America 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. The number of contracts is fewer than its biggest local competitor, Empresas ICA. During the same period, Empresas obtained 18 Mexican projects valued at $1.09 billion, including airports, toll roads, hospitals and oil platforms. Some of the projects IDEAL has been awarded include the Nezahualcoyotl development, which is a landfill that was acquired for 150 million by Slim to develop a shopping mall, two schools, a hospital and a park on the site. Other contracts IDEAL has been awarded include a water-treatment plant contract, and a real estate partnership with the Mexican hospital chain Star Médica. IDEAL is also betting on one of the poorest landfills surrounding Mexico City. Slim has also planned to purchase several toll roads offered by the Mexican government that it took over from private companies following the December 1994 currency devaluation.[36] Though speculation that the landfill will take about 12 years to yield a return, the development of a such poor area is revealed to promise handsome business profits over the years as Grupo Elektra, Mexico's largest consumer electronics retailer, sells 2,000 flat screen televisions a year at its store in the area, making it the third-best-selling outlet. Included in the development, IDEAL will also collect rent from a university, a hospital and a school that will be built around a mall, will have 178 stores, including Inditex's Zara fashion chain and Slim's Grupo Sanborns and the Mexican unit of Sears Holdings. A park in Nezahualcoyotl, the first of its kind will also be constructed. The park will comprise 34 soccer fields, 12 tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a baseball field and a gym with a swimming pool.[12][36]

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 $1.1bn, 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 150 billion.[23] On December 8, 2007, Grupo Carso announced that the remaining 103 CompUSA stores would be either liquidated or sold, bringing an end to the struggling company,[37] 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).[38] After 28 years, Slim became the Honorary Lifetime Chairman of the business.

In 2008, Slim took a 6.4% stake valued at $27 million in the troubled New York Times Company, as the global recession and declining advertising revenues took a particularly heavy toll on print-based "old media" companies across the United States.[18] Slim increased his stake to 8% by 2012.[39] Slim's stake in the Times increased again to 16.8% on January 20, 2015 when he exercised stock options to purchase 15.9 million shares, making him the largest shareholder in the company.[40][41]

Slim built Plaza Carso in Mexico City, where most of his ventures share a common headquarters address.[42]

Slim has also been responsible for combining business activities in media with the sports business as well as increasing the popularity of soccer within Mexican culture. In 2012, he 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, America Movil beat its rivals by announcing it had acquired the broadcast rights across all media platforms for the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014 and the Brazil 2016 for Latin America.[43]

In March 2012, Slim along with American television host Larry King established Ora TV, an on-demand digital television network that produces and distributes television shows including Larry King Now, Politicking with Larry King, Recessionista, and Jesse Ventura Uncensored. The network was used as an outlet to produce a new show for Larry King after leaving CNN.[44]

In September 2012, Slim ventured into the sports business, where he bought 30% stakes in Pachuca and León, two high end Mexican soccer teams through his telecommunications company America Movil. In December 2012, he bought all the shares of the second division team Estudiantes Tecos.[45] Slim has also completed business deals for the television rights to games of the Leon soccer team. His company America Movil purchase 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.[46]

In November 2012, Slim bought the Spanish soccer team Real Oviedo to expand his sports investment portfolio for 2 million euros (USD$2.5 million) making it Slim’s second sports transaction of the year via his mobile phone company America Movil. One rationale behind Slim's purchase was to boost video content services, including sports, to help bring in online viewers from Grupo Televisa SAB, which is the world’s largest Spanish-language broadcaster controlled by Slim. The company also owns Club America, one of Mexico’s most popular soccer teams.[47][48] In July 2013, Slim was ranked the richest soccer team owner and investor in the world according to rankings from data firm Wealth-X.[49]

In April 2013, Slim entered the business of managing Mexican prisons to expand the investments of his construction-financing company. Ideal acquired stakes in two federal prisons from Desarrolladora Homex SAB, a Mexican homebuilder where Slim's companies will receive 4 billion pesos ($326 million USD) within the agreement. The company ran his son, Marco Antonio Slim would add the prisons to its portfolio of infrastructure assets among which include toll roads, hydroelectric dams, and water-treatment plants.[50]

In 2013, Slim's company, Grupo Carso opened Mexico City's Telcel Theater, which operates in conjunction with his entertainment company, Grupo CIE (Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento), Mexico's equivalent of Live Nation.[51]

In July 2013, Slim's company America Movill invested $40 million in Shazam, a British commercial mobile phone-based music identification service for an undisclosed share. America Movil partnered with the company to aid its growth into advertising and television and help the audio recognition service expand in Latin America.[52][53]

In November 2013, Slim decided to invest 60 million dollars in Israeli startup Mobli, a company that deals with connections between people and communities corralled according to different interests. The platform allows web surfers to follow photos posted by other users. As part of the investment, the startup will distribute the app to América Móvil’s cellphone customers. The deal was part of a partnership with Slim's company, América Móvil. In addition to Slim expressing his own personal deep admiration for Israel's technological and entrepreneurial prowess, Slim further expressed interest of investing in more Israeli companies in the future.[54] Slim again visited Israel in 2014, as part of a Mexican delegation of 80 Israeli businessmen to meet with then Israeli President Shimon Peres, to promote business opportunities for Israel within Mexico's growing economy.[55][56]

In December 2013, Slim's private equity fund, Sinca Inbursa sold its stake in Mexican pharmaceutical company Landsteiner Scientific. Slim acquired a 27.51 stake in the company in June 2008 and 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 total market cap of 5.152 billion pesos at the end of 2012.[57]

Slim has also set his sights within the energy industry as well. In 2011, Slim began buying a 70 percent stake in n Geoprocesados SA’s Tabasco Oil Co., gaining access to the Colombian oil market as the country seeks to boost crude and natural-gas output.[58] Slim began seeking to boost his oil investments in Colombia because of the country’s open policies on exploration as well as furthering its commitment to double output by 2020.[59] Investors have also been drawn to Colombia because of improved security as well as a clear government regulatory framework for oil drilling.[60] In 2013, Mexico’s national oil and gas company Pemex hired an offshore drilling rig from the Carso Group. The agreement, Pemex will operate the rig on a seven-year contract and will pay $415 million. The rig is owned by Operadora Cicsa, a subsidiary of Carso Group.[61] The relationship between Pemex and Slim rans back as early as in 2006, where NOC hired CICSA for the drilling and completion of over 60 wells in the southern region – covering the Cinco Presidentes, Macuspana-Muspac, Samaria-Luna and Bellota-Jujo assets – and for the expansion of a petrochemical plant in Veracruz. Carso’s infrastructure and construction subsidiary has been awarded with several oil well development contracts in Pemex’s main assets – including Chicontepec – as well as tenders for the construction of natural gas pipelines and marine platforms. With the 2008 Pemex Law reform, the creation of integrated service contracts and the perspectives for a future energy reform, Slim has began seizing business and investment opportunities in Mexico's oil and gas industry. CICSA’s pipe manufacturing division Swepomex into a marine platform provider. CICSA has also acquired majority shares in Oklahoma contractor Bronco Drilling, along with minority participations in Houston drilling company Allis Chalmers Energy. Slim controls a 15 percent stake in Bronco, with warrants that could boost the stake to 20 percent. He also has a 2.9 percent stake in Allis-Chalmers.[60] 15% of the country’s main gas operator, Gas Natural Mexico now belong to Sinca Inbursa, a private equity fund controlled by Slim.[57] Slim Helú has also maintained an important business presence in Spanish oil company Repsol and its Argentinian subsidiary YPF, Argentina's largest oil company, where Slim has an 8.4 percent stake.[4][32]

On April 23, 2014, Slim took control of Telekom Austria, the Alpine country’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 a syndicate holding structure the Austrian state holding company OIAG's 28 percent are combined with Slim's 27 percent ownership. America Movil will spend as much as $2 billion to buy out minority shareholders in a mandatory public offer and invest up to 1 billion euros ($1.38 billion USD) into the company, which it sees as "platform for expansion into central and eastern Europe". Labor representatives boycotted attending the OIAG supervisory board meeting for 12 hours criticizing lack of explicit job guarantees.[62]

In July 2014, Slim invested in WellAware, a Texas-based oil and gas software developer, this investment was also made with former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney. External funding was provided by Activant Capital Group and Slim, along with participation from strategic investors and WellAware board members Ed Whitacre. When Mexico eventually prepared to open its oil and gas sectors to domestic and foreign private capital for the first time in 75 years, it has been widely speculated that Slim will play a major role towards contributing towards Mexico’s new energy landscape. Slim’s investment in WellAware, whose software allows oil and gas companies to track wells and pipelines remotely and collates data for making forecasts, adds to a number of oil-related investments that he has been making in the past years in Mexico, Latin America and the United States.[63]

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 contains an extensive music section and 170 locations in Mexico as well as controlling a majority stake in Mixup, Mexico's most successful retail music store that comprises a chain 117-store Mexican retailers along with an online iShop through a selling partnership with Apple. Mixup also generated more than $320 million in revenue in 2014.[51]

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 for 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.[64][65]

On April 15, 2015, Slim formed his own oil company called Carso Oil & Gas. The company was established after shareholders of the subsidiaries of Slim's business conglomerate, Grupo Carso, voted in February 2015 to merge Carso Infraestructura, Construccion y Perforacion and Condumex Perforaciones into Carso Oil & Gas. A report that was released by the new company listed its assets at 3.5 billion pesos (approximately $230 million USD), 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 once held by state-owned oil company Pemex and opening the sector for private investors.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Slim was married to Soumaya Domit from 1967 until her death in 1999. Among her interests were various philanthropic projects, including the creation of a legal framework for organ donation.[18] Slim has six children: Carlos, Marco Antonio, Patrick, Soumaya, Vanessa, and Johanna. Slim’s fortune has given rise to a family business empire and he often acquires shares on behalf of himself and his children. His three older sons serve in key positions in the companies controlled by Slim where most are involved in the day-to-day running of Slim's business empire.[3][12][22][66] Slim underwent heart surgery in 1999.[35] In high school, Slim's favorite subjects were history, cosmography, and mathematics.[22]

In his office, Slim does not keep a computer and instead prefers to keep all his financial data in thoroughly kept notebooks.[22]

Personal fortune[edit]

Wealth[edit]

On March 29, 2007, Slim surpassed American investor Warren Buffett as the world's second richest person with an estimated net worth of $53.1 billion compared to Buffet's $52.4 billion.[67]

On August 4, 2007, The Wall Street Journal ran a cover story profiling Slim. The article said, "While the market value of his stake in publicly traded companies could decline at any time, at the moment he is probably wealthier than Bill Gates".[68] According to The Wall Street Journal, Slim credits part of his ability to "discover investment opportunities" early to the writings of his friend, futurist author Alvin Toffler.[68]

On August 8, 2007, Fortune reported that Slim had overtaken Gates as the world's richest person. Slim's estimated fortune soared to $59 billion, based on the value of his public holdings at the end of July. Gates' net worth was estimated to be at least $58 billion.[68][69]

On March 5, 2008, Forbes ranked Slim as the world's second-richest person, behind Warren Buffett and ahead of Bill Gates.[70]

On March 11, 2009, Forbes ranked Slim as the world's third-richest person, behind Gates and Buffett and ahead of Larry Ellison.[70]

On March 10, 2010, Forbes once again reported that Slim had overtaken Gates as the world's richest person, with a net worth of $53.5 billion. At the time, Gates and Buffett had a net worth of $53 billion and $47 billion respectively.[70] He was the first Mexican to top the list.[71] It was the first time in 16 years that the person on top of the list was not from the United States.[72] It was also the first time the person at the top of the list was from an "emerging economy."[73] Between 2008 to 2010, Slim more than doubled his net worth from $35 to $75 billion.[12]

In March 2011, Forbes stated that Slim had maintained his position as the wealthiest person in the world, with his fortune estimated at $74 billion.[5]

In December 2012, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Carlos Slim Helú remained the world's richest person with an estimated net worth of $75.5 billion.[74]

On March 5, 2013, Forbes stated that Slim was still maintaining his first-place position as the wealthiest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$73 billion.[75]

On May 16, 2013, Bloomberg L.P. ranked Slim the second-richest person in the world, after Bill Gates.[76]

On July 15, 2014, Forbes announced that Slim had reclaimed the position of the wealthiest person in the world, with a fortune of $79.6 billion.[77]

In September 2014, Forbes listed Slim as number 1 on its list of billionaires with a net worth of $81.6 billion.[78]

Real estate[edit]

Slim lives in a modest 6-bedroom home in the Lomas de Capultepec district of Mexico City, close to where he grew up, that has been his residence for over 40 years. In addition, Slim's real estate holding company Inmobiliaria Carso develops, invests, owns and operates many residential and commercial properties across Mexico. The company owns over 20 shopping centers, including ten in Mexico City, and operates stores in the country under U.S. brands including the Mexican arms of Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears and the Coffee Factory. Slim has also been making private real estate investments around the world, particularly in the United States. He has been reported to have acquired 417 Fifth Avenue, an 11-story office tower for $140 million and also a piece of the former New York Times building on West 43rd street. He also controls approximately 8 acres of prime Beverly Hills real estate at the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards.[3] In May 2014, Slim opened his own aquarium, Inbursa Aquarium, Latin America's largest aquarium.[13] Slim owns the Duke Seamans mansion, a 1901 Beaux arts house on 5th Avenue in New York City, which he bought for $44 million in 2010. The mansion is 20,000 sqft large and has 12 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, and a doctor's office in the basement.[3][79] In May 2015, he listed the property up for sale at $80 million, nearly twice for what he paid for originally.[31] In April 2015, Slim bought the Marquette Building in Detroit and purchased PepsiCo Americas Beverages headquarters in Somers, New York for $87 million. Slim also controls a second mansion in New York City at 10 W. 56th St, which he leased early this year to the John Barrett Salon for $1.5 million annually. The property was bought it in 2011 for $15.5 million.[31]

Philanthropy[edit]

Slim founded three non-profit foundations concentrating on Mexico City: one for the arts, education and health care, one for sports and one for downtown restoration.

Fundación Carlos Slim Helú

Established in 1986 Fundación Carlos Slim Helú sponsors the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City, named after Slim's late wife, Soumaya Domit, opened 2011. It holds 66,000 pieces, including religious relics, contains the world's second-largest collection of Rodin sculptures, including The Kiss, the largest Dalí collection in Latin America, works by Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and coins from the viceroys of Spain.[80] The inauguration in 2011 was attended by the President of Mexico, Nobel Prize laureates, writers and other celebrities.[81]

After stating that he had donated $4 billion of dividends to Fundación Carlos Slim Helú, $2 billion in 2006 and another $2 billion in 2010, Slim was ranked fifth in Forbes' World's Biggest Givers in May 2011.[82] Education and health care projects have included $100 million to perform 50,000 cataract surgeries in Peru through the Clinton Initiative, a $20 million fund to strengthen small and medium-size businesses in Colombia, and a digital education program for youth in Mexico, $150 million for programs in nutrition and disease prevention in Central America with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the government of Spain, $50 million to work with the World Wildlife Fund on restoration of six areas for species in Mexico, including the monarch butterfly and $100 million on education programs for young people through Colombian singer Shakira's Alas Foundation.[82]

Fundación Telmex

In 1995 Slim established Fundación Telmex, a broad-ranging philanthropic foundation, which as he announced in 2007 had been provided with an asset base of $4 billion to establish Carso Institutes for Health, Sports and Education. Furthermore, it was to work in support of an initiative of Bill Clinton to aid the people of Latin America.[18] Because Mexican foundations are not required to publish their financial information, it is not possible to confirm Slim's claims of charitable giving through a public source.[82] The foundation has organized Copa Telmex, an amateur sports tournament, recognized in 2007 and 2008 by Guinness World Records as having the most participants of any such tournament in the world. Together with Fundación Carlos Slim Helú, Telmex announced in 2008 that it was to invest more than $250 million in Mexican sports programs, from grass-roots level to Olympic standard.[18] Telmex sponsored the Sauber F1 team for the 2011 season.[83] [84] [85]

Fundación del Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México A.C.

In 2000, Slim and ex-broadcaster Jacobo Zabludowsky organized the Fundación del Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México A.C. (Mexico City Historic Center Foundation) to revitalize and rescue Mexico City's historic downtown area to enable more people to live, work and find entertainment there.[18] He has been Chair of the Council for the Restoration of the Historic Downtown of Mexico City since 2001.[86]

In 2011 he, along with the President of Mexico, Mexico City Mayor and Mexico City Archbishop, inaugurated the first phase of Plaza Mariana close to Basilica de Guadalupe.[87] The complex, whose construction was funded by Slim, includes an evangelization center, museum, columbarium, health center, and market.[88]

These revitalization efforts are important in the modern History of Mexico City.

Achievements[edit]

Slim has been vice-president of the Mexican Stock Exchange and president of the Mexican Association of Brokerage Houses.[when?] He was the first president of the Latin-American Committee of the New York Stock Exchange Administration Council, and was in office from 1996 through 1998.

Slim was on the Board of Directors of the Altria Group (previously known as Philip Morris) until his resignation in April 2006. Slim was also on the Board of Directors of Alcatel. Slim currently sits on the Board of Directors for Philip Morris International. He was on the Board of Directors of SBC Communications until July 2004, when he quit to devote more time to the World Education & Development Fund, which is focused on infrastructure, health and education projects. In 1997, just before the company introduced its iMac line, Slim bought 3% of Apple Inc.'s stock.

In 2008 it was reported that Slim had shown an interest in buying the Honda Formula One team.[89]

Awards[edit]

Criticism[edit]

Slim's growing fortune has been a subject of controversy, because it has been amassed in a developing country where average per capita income does not surpass $14,500 a year, and nearly 17% of the population lives in poverty.[93] Critics claim that Slim is a monopolist, pointing to Telmex's control of 90% of the Mexican landline telephone market. Slim's wealth is the equivalent of roughly 5% of Mexico's annual economic output.[82] Telmex, of which 49.1% is owned by Slim and his family, charges among the highest usage fees in the world, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.[94] The average Mexican spends 1.50 pesos per day on Slim's goods and services for a total of roughly $140 million a day and the Federal Telecommunications Institute a new Mexican government anti-monopoly watchdog said in April 2014 that Slim’s telecom businesses are monopolies.[95] Slim’s business presence in Mexico alone is broad that many Mexicans find it appropriate to call the country “Slimlandia” as it is almost impossible to go a day in Mexico without contributing to Slim’s wealth.[12]

According to Celso Garrido, economist at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Slim's domination of Mexico's conglomerates prevents the growth of smaller companies, resulting in a shortage of paying jobs, forcing many Mexicans to seek better lives in the US.[96]

In response to the criticism, Slim has stated, "When you live for others' opinions, you are dead. I don't want to live thinking about how I'll be remembered" by Mexican people claiming indifference about his position on Forbes list of the world's richest people. He has said he has no interest in becoming the world's richest person. When asked to explain his sudden increase in wealth at a press conference soon after Forbes annual rankings were published, he said, "The stock market goes up ... and down", and noted that his fortune could quickly drop.[82] Despite criticism, Slim's shrewd business acumen have earned him much praise, with his supporters saying that he is a classic old-fashioned businessman with an eye for an undervalued company.[22]

Slim has been publicly skeptical of The Giving Pledge by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett giving away at least half of their fortunes, but as of 2011 devoted $4 billion, or roughly 5%, to his Carlos Slim foundation.[82]

Slim was criticized by 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 privatized in the 90′s, by stating "an acquisition of KPN by a "foreign company" could have consequences for the Netherland's national security".[97] Two years after Slim’s failed bid to take over the company mainly due to political intervention and Slim's paucity of interest in purchasing the company, Slim's America Movil SAB began offering 2.25 billion euros of bonds that can be converted into shares of Royal KPN NV. America Movil now controls a 21.1 percent stake of KPN with a market value of 3.1 billion euros as of May 20, 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 and KPN’s preference share foundation blocked the takeover attempt.[98]

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External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Bill Gates
World's richest person
2010 – 2013
Succeeded by
Bill Gates