Thursday, March 8, 2012

Carlos Slim Helu is the Richest Man in the World


  • Carlos Slim Helú, one of the wealthiest people in the world, was born on January 28, 1940, in Mexico City to a family of Lebanese Christian immigrants. He became a billionaire after the economic crash of 1982 when he purchased investments at low prices that would later be extremely valuable. In 2000, he founded the Foundation for the Historic Centre of Mexico City to restore and save significant buildings.

  • (born Jan. 28, 1940, Mexico City, Mex.) Mexican entrepreneur who became one of the wealthiest people in the world. His extensive holdings in a considerable number of Mexican companies through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso, SA de CV, amassed interests in the fields of communications, technology, retailing, and finance.

  • Slim was born into a family of Lebanese Christian immigrants to Mexico, where his father made a fortune in real estate during the Mexican Revolution of 1910–20. Slim graduated with a degree in engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and by the mid-1960s he was investing in and founding a variety of businesses that became the foundation for Grupo Carso. He attained billionaire status in the aftermath of the economic crash of 1982, when the Mexican government, defaulting on foreign debts in light of a devalued peso, began nationalizing banks and scaring away business investors. Having purchased at bargain prices controlling interests in a variety of companies, Slim managed them so effectively that within the span of a decade their sum value soared.

  • For more than a dozen years, Slim's key holding and the anchor to his success was his ownership of the former national telephone monopoly, Teléfonos de México (Telmex), which allowed him to broaden his investment portfolio into American technology and telecommunications firms such as Prodigy Inc. and SBC Communications Inc. Grupo Carso also held extensive interests in numerous Mexican companies. By the late 1980s Slim had forged close ties with Pres. Carlos Salinas de Gortari and the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party. In 1990 the Gortari administration privatized Telmex, and Slim, along with SBC and France Télécom, made the $1.76 billion purchase. Slim later won management control of Telmex, alienating France Télécom but keeping close relations with SBC. His tight control of Telmex upset his competitors, as well as some consumers critical of the communications giant. He retained tight control over Telmex until 2003, by which time he had turned over many of his business operations to his three sons.

  • Slim acquired the ailing electronics products and services company CompUSA in 2000. After realizing that he had miscalculated his ability to turn the company around—a rare misstep for Slim—he sold it in 2007. By the following year Slim had become the largest shareholder in the American media company the New York Times Company, financial conglomerate Citigroup, luxury retailer Saks, and consumer electronics retailer Circuit City.

  • A noted art collector and philanthropist


  • MEXICO/Carlos Slim Helú

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