Carlos Slim Helú
|Born||28 January 1940|
Mexico City, Mexico
|Alma mater||Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México|
|Occupation||Businessman, philanthropist, investor|
(m. 1967; died 1999)
|Children||6, including Carlos|
|Relatives||Alfredo Harp Helú (cousin)|
Carlos Slim Helú (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkaɾlos ezˈlim eˈlu]; born 28 January 1940) is a Mexican business magnate, investor and philanthropist. From 2010 to 2013, Slim was ranked as the richest person in the world by the Forbes business magazine. He derived his fortune from his extensive holdings in a considerable number of Mexican companies through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso. As of April 2021, he was ranked at twenty-fourth-richest person in the world according to Bloomberg L.P. listing of Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with a net worth estimated at $53.1 billion. He is 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.
Slim was born on 28 January 1940, in Mexico City, to Julián Slim Haddad (born Khalil Salim Haddad Aglamaz) and Linda Helú Atta, both Maronite Christians from Lebanon. He 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.
At the age of 11, Slim invested in a government savings bond that taught himself 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.
Though Slim was a civil engineering major, he also displayed an interest in economics. He 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.
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 US$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 US$40 million, he founded Inmobiliaria Carso.
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. 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, mining, retail, food, and tobacco.
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 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, 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 that it is made nearly recession proof if one or more sectors of the economy do not do well.
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 US$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 US$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.
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. 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. Slim was an early investor in Telmex, the revenues of the company eventually formed the bulk of Slim's wealth. 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 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 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 & Noble, OfficeMax, Office Depot, Circuit City, Borders, and CompUSA. 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 Colombia, Nicaragua, Peru, Chile, Honduras, and El Salvador, as well as a venture with Microsoft.
In 2005 Slim invested in Volaris, a Mexican airline and 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 US$1.1 billion, while in the same year also selling his entire interest in a tile company, Porcelanite, for US$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). 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 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.
This section may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may interest only a particular audience.(November 2020)
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 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.
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.
In July 2013, Slim's company America Movill 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 privatized in the 1990s, by stating "an acquisition of KPN by a 'foreign company' could have consequences for the Netherlands' national security". 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. 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.
On 23 April 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 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 US$2 billion to buy out minority shareholders in a mandatory public offer and invest up to 1 billion euros (US$1.38 billion) 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.
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 Mexican retailers Mixup also generated more than US$320 millionin revenue in 2014.
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.
On 25 July 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 US$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.
Family and personal life
Slim's father, Khalil Salim Haddad Aglamaz, was born on 17 July 1888 in Jezzine, Lebanon (then part of the Ottoman Empire). In 1902, at the age of 14, Haddad emigrated to Mexico alone, and later changed his name to Julián Slim Haddad. 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, and four of Haddad's older brothers were already living in Mexico at the time of his arrival.
In 1911, Julián established a dry goods store, La Estrella de Oriente (The Star of the Orient). By 1921, he had begun investing in real estate in the flourishing commercial district of Mexico City where Julián would acquire prime real estate at fire sale prices and in Zocalo District during the 1910–17 Mexican Revolution. By 1922, Julián's net worth reached $1,012,258 pesos and was diversified within various assets including real estate, businesses and various stocks.
In August 1926, Julián Slim married Linda Helú Atta. Linda was born in Parral, Chihuahua, of Lebanese parents who had immigrated to Mexico in the late 19th century. Upon immigrating to Mexico, her parents had founded one of the first Arabic-language magazines for the Lebanese-Mexican community, using a printing press they had brought with them. Julian and Linda had six children: Nour, Alma, Julián, José, Carlos and Linda. Julián senior died in 1953, when Carlos was 13 years old.
Julian's business ventures became the source of considerable wealth for himself and his family. As a result of financial prosperity of these ventures, Julian soon became a prominent and wealthy businessman, where he was able to make investments during bad economic cycles due to Mexico's frequent economic downturns. Julián was known for his business savvy, strong work ethic, and commitment to traditional Lebanese moral values.
Carlos Slim was married to Soumaya Domit from 1967 until her death in 1999. Among her interests were various philanthropic projects. Slim has six children: Carlos, Marco Antonio, Patrick, Soumaya, Vanessa, and Johanna. 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. Slim underwent heart surgery in 1999. In high school, Slim's favorite subjects were history, cosmography, and mathematics. Slim and his wife had a very happy marriage, and he indicated that he does not intend to remarry.
In his office, Slim does not keep a computer and instead prefers to keep all his financial data in hand-written notebooks. Due to the vast size of his business empire, he often jokes that he cannot keep track of all the companies he manages. Slim is a Maronite Catholic, and he is one of the prominent backers of Legion of Christ, a Roman Catholic religious institute.
On 29 March 2007, Slim surpassed American investor Warren Buffett as the world's second richest person with an estimated net worth of US$53.1 billion compared with Buffett's US$52.4 billion.
On 4 August 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". 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.
On 8 August 2007, Fortune magazine reported that Slim had overtaken Gates as the world's richest person. Slim's estimated fortune soared to US$59 billion, based on the value of his public holdings at the end of July. Gates' net worth was estimated to be at least US$58 billion.
On 5 March 2008, Forbes ranked Slim as the world's second-richest person, behind Warren Buffett and ahead of Bill Gates. On 11 March 2009, Forbes ranked Slim as the world's third-richest person, behind Gates and Buffett and ahead of Larry Ellison.
On 10 March 2010, Forbes once again reported that Slim had overtaken Gates as the world's richest person, with a net worth of US$53.5 billion. At the time, Gates and Buffett had a net worth of US$53 billion and US$47 billion respectively. He was the first Mexican to top the list. It was the first time in 16 years that the person on top of the list was not from the United States. It was also the first time the person at the top of the list was from an "emerging economy". Between 2008 and 2010, Slim more than doubled his net worth from $35 to $75 billion.
In March 2011, Forbes stated that Slim had maintained his position as the wealthiest person in the world, with his fortune estimated at US$74 billion.
In December 2012, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Carlos Slim Helú remained the world's richest person with an estimated net worth of US$75.5 billion.
On 5 March 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. On 16 May 2013, Bloomberg L.P. ranked Slim the second-richest person in the world, after Bill Gates.
On 15 July 2014, Forbes announced that Slim had reclaimed the position of the wealthiest person in the world, with a fortune of US$79.6 billion.
As of December 2016, his net worth was US$48.1 billion.
In 2017, his net worth was reported to be $54.5 billion.
In 2019, his net worth was said to be at least $58.1 billion, making him the richest man in Mexico. 
In October 2020, his net worth was estimated at $53.7 billion.
In 2021 Forbes stated his net worth as $73.3 billion. 
Slim's real estate holding company Inmobiliaria Carso develops, invests, owns and operates many residential and commercial properties across Mexico. Slim has been making private real estate investments around the world, particularly in the United States.
In May 2014, Slim opened Inbursa Aquarium, Latin America's largest aquarium. 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 square feet and has 12 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, and a doctor's office in the basement. In May 2015, he listed the property for sale at $80 million, nearly twice what he had paid. In April 2015, Slim bought the Marquette Building in Detroit and purchased PepsiCo Americas Beverages headquarters in Somers, New York, for US$87 million. Slim owns a second mansion in New York City at 10 West 56th Street, which he bought in 2011 for US$15.5 million.
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 US$14,500 a year, and nearly 17% of the population lives in poverty. 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. 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.
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 U.S.
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.
In 2016, Donald Trump accused Slim of being involved in critical articles published in The New York Times during the campaign. The magazine responded to these accusations by saying that Slim had never interfered in editorial policy.
Later in 2017, Trump and Slim met in person. Slim spoke quite positively about the meeting. 
Slim has been publicly skeptical of The Giving Pledge by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett giving away at least half of their fortunes. But—according to his spokesman—he devoted US$4 billion, or roughly 5%, to his Carlos Slim foundation as of 2011. Though Slim has not gone as far as Gates and Buffett in pledging more than half of his fortune, Slim has expressed firm support for philanthropy and has advised budding entrepreneurs that businessmen must do more than give—they "should participate in solving problems".
Slim founded three nonprofit foundations concentrating on Mexico City: one for the arts, education, and health care; one for sports; and one for downtown restoration.
In 2019 Forbes put Slim in the list of the world's most generous philanthropists outside of the US.
Fundación Carlos Slim
Established in 1986, Fundación Carlos Slim 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 Salvador Dalí collection in Latin America, works by Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and coins from the viceroys of Spain. The inauguration in 2011 was attended by the President of Mexico, Nobel Prize laureates, writers and other celebrities.
After stating that he had donated US$4 billion of dividends to Fundación Carlos Slim, US$2 billion in 2006, and another US$2 billion in 2010, Slim was ranked fifth in Forbes' World's Biggest Givers in May 2011. Education and health care projects have included $100 million to perform 50,000 cataract surgeries in Peru.
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 US$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. 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 US$250 million in Mexican sports programs, from grass-roots level to Olympic standard. Telmex sponsored the Sauber F1 team for the 2011 season.  Telmex donated at least $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Fundación del Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México A.C.
Slim has been Chair of the Council for the Restoration of the Historic Downtown of Mexico City since 2001.
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. The complex, whose construction was funded by Slim, includes an evangelization center, museum, columbarium, health center, and market.
- Entrepreneurial Merit Medal of Honor in 1985 from Mexico's Chamber of Commerce.
- Commander in the Belgian Order of Leopold II
- Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1994
- CEO of the year in 2003 by Latin Trade magazine
- CEO of the decade in 2004 by Latin Trade magazine
- Fundacion Telmex received in 2007 the National Sports Prize of Mexico for sports promotion
- In 2008, his philanthropy was recognized with the award of The National Order of the Cedar by the Lebanese government.
- In 2011, the Hispanic Society of America awarded Fundacion Carlos Slim the Sorolla Medal for its contribution to the arts and culture
- On 20 May 2012, Slim was awarded an honorary doctorate in public service from George Washington University.
- On 21 March 2020, he was awarded the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute Sophia Award for Excellence at an awards luncheon.
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