Profile Of Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim…

I love reading about the Mexican “Warren Buffett”. In fact because of Mr. Carlos Slim  I learned about Alvin Toffler and read Revolutionary Weath (one of my favorite books).  Anyways, the New Yorker has an interesting profile of this billionaire entrepreneur, the only downside being that you must pay in order to read the article.

Click Here To Read A Profile Of Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim (Remember article requires payment)

Article Abstract/Introduction (Via Lawrence Wright @ The New Yorker)

PROFILE of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. Writer describes how Slim came to lend two hundred and fifty million dollars to the New York Times Company in 2008. In return, the Times awarded him stock-purchase warrants on 15.9 million shares. Slim became the company’s largest creditor and was poised to become one of its largest stockholders. In modern history, no one has dominated a major economy the way Carlos Slim does that of Mexico. Slim and his heirs control more than two hundred companies. His portfolio contains Inbursa, one of Mexico’s most prominent banks, Volaris, an airline; a mining company, a cigarette manufacturer, and much valuable real estate. The foundation of his empire is Telmex, the telecommunications company, which he acquired in 1990, and the cell-phone business, América Móvil, which is now the third-largest company in Latin America. Although Slim has often been described as a merciless predator, he has never been caught in one of the scandals that periodically spill onto the front pages of Mexican newspapers. His nationalism, humility, and relatively modest personal habits stand as a kind of rebuke to the image that Mexicans typically have of their oligarchs. Tells about Slim’s father, Khalil, who emigrated to Mexico from Lebanon and became a successful merchant. Describes Slim’s childhood and his early interest in numbers and money.

Excerpts Of The Artice & Notes On The Interview (Via Staff Writers @ The New Yorker)

Q. Your Profile describes how Slim is obsessed with numbers—he showed you his father’s old ledger, and he is relentlessly focussed on the balance sheet and profit margins. He doesn’t ostentatiously seek out prestige. Why do you think he put so much money into the Times?

A. So why would Carlos Slim, who is perhaps Buffett’s equal in the world of investment, put his money on something that Buffett says has no future? I think there are a couple of plausible reasons. One is that Slim is a brand-name buyer. His head is turned by names everyone knows: in Mexico, he bought Sears, Denny’s, Firestone, and the ubiquitous Sanborns, and in the U.S., after placing a mistaken bet on the now bankrupt CompUSA, he turned to Saks Fifth Avenue.

Q. What does Slim’s economic power—he owns the cell-phone lines, the top retailers, the restaurants, the utilities—mean for Mexican politics? Do you think he has negatively affected Mexico’s economic growth, as critics claim, or has he just taken advantage of a system?

A. Slim’s economic power really does represent a threat to the authority of the state. Whenever Slim’s enterprises are threatened with regulation, they are able to bring extraordinary resources to bear. The fecklessness—and corruption—of the government stands in contrast to the ruthless efficiency of the Slim machine, which is one reason that many Mexicans feel so demoralized about their nascent democracy.

Q.Why do no other Mexican oligarchs come close to Slim’s reach and wealth? Even at the peak of Bill Gates’s success, for example, Larry Ellison would occasionally be worth more money. Is Slim that different from his would-be competitors?

A. During the privatization of Mexican national companies, which took place in the early nineteen-nineties, there were arguably better deals out there, because Telmex was a shoddy, poorly run, overstaffed, and underperforming company to start with, one that needed billions of dollars of investment to bring it up to anything close to international standards. The government sweetened the deal with two significant concessions. One was a monopoly on long-distance calling for a period of six years. By itself, that was an incredibly lucrative deal, one that provided much of the investment that the company needed simply out of its cash flow. The other was a mobile-phone concession that covered the entire country.

Click Here To Read A Profile Of Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim (Remember article requires payment)

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30. May 2009 by Miguel Barbosa
Categories: Curated Readings, Finance & Investing | Leave a comment

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