In 2010, Carlos Slim became the first non-U.S. resident to top Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people in 16 years, knocking Bill Gates from the top of the list.
About Carlos Slim: Forbes now ranksÂ Slim as the 12th richest person in the world, with a net worth of $59.4 billion.
Similar to legendary investor Warren Buffett, Slim lives what most people would consider a normal lifestyle. Slim lives in the same house he has owned for 40 years and owns no planes or yachts.
Slimâ€™s father was a successful businessman with retail and real estate ventures. Slim inherited the business.
Most of Slimâ€™s wealth comes from his majority stake in American Movil (NYSE: AMX), a telecommunications company in Mexico. American Movil had over $50 billion in revenue for 2019.
Buying Struggling Companies: The strategy that has worked well for Slim is acquiring struggling companies and turning them into multi-billion-dollar companies before selling for a profit.
Slim took advantage of the Mexican debt crisis in 1982 and purchased several deflated companies.
Slim loaned $250 million to struggling New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) in 2009 at a 14% interest rate.
In all of these cases, Slim used major events as buying opportunities to acquire stakes in well-known brands and businesses that were in need of financial help.
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Using Conglomerate Structure: The conglomerate structure that Slim operates under allows him to buy small stakes in companies across a diverse offering of sectors.
Slimâ€™s conglomerate Grupo Carso owns stakes in banking, mining, construction, real estate, retail, insurance, restaurants, hotels, infrastructure, oil and telecommunications.
The structure has also allowed Slim to acquire telecom assets outside of Mexico like Tracfone in the United States and Telekom Austria.
Slim has been able to diversify the conglomerate and acquire well-known brands using this structure.Â
Dominant in Mexico: The majority of Slimâ€™s wealth comes from his ownership of assets across Mexico, which shows that focusing on emerging markets could be beneficial for investors.Â
Slim led the privatization of Mexican phone company Telmex. American Movil controls most of the Mexican mobile phone, landline and internet services through subsidiaries that include Telmex.
The large ownership of assets in Mexico has given Slim a dominant position in the country. People in the country have said you canâ€™t go a day in the country without giving money to Slimâ€™s empire.
Critics have accused Slim of having a monopoly in Mexico, but he insists he is trying to make the country better through his business practices.
Slimâ€™s ownership of assets in Mexico did hurt his wealth over the course of the Donald Trump presidency. The unfavorable relations between the U.S. and Mexico and the falling valuation of the Mexican peso has hurt Slimâ€™s wealth.
Photo Credit: ITU Pictures, courtesy WikimediaÂ
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