So Carlos Slim Helú, the richest man in Mexico and one of the richest in the world, has purchased a 6.4 percent stake in Times Company. Richard Pérez-Peña reports: "[Times Company] stock closed on Wednesday at $13.96 a share, down 4 cents, giving the Slim family’s 9.1 million shares, a value of $127 million."
David Luhnow wrote a wonderfully detailed portrait of Slim Helú in August 2007 for The Wall Street Journal, and we learned a lot about him, his fortune, the monopoly he controls in Mexico and his personality. Here’s a sampling:
- He’s an insomniac who stays up late reading about Ghengis Khan.
- He’s a Yankees fan.
- He smokes Cuban cigars and his office is decorated with 19th-century Mexican landscape paintings.
- He’s portly.
- His parents are Lebanese immigrants.
- He doesn’t own any homes outside of Mexico.
- Between 2005 and 2007, he made about $27 million a day.
- He’s chatty and avuncular, but he’s got a short fuse.
- He sips Diet Coke.
- "Mr. Slim’s strategy has been consistent over his long career: Buy companies on the cheap, whip them into shape, and ruthlessly drive competitors out of business."
- He was born rich.
- He doesn’t use a computer.
- "Mr. Slim’s fortune has grown faster than any in the world during the past two years, rising by more than $20 billion to about $60 billion currently."
- He controls companies in telecommunications, cigarettes, construction, mining, bicycles, soft drinks, airlines, hotels, railways, banking and printing.
- "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, whom Forbes magazine estimated at $56 billion last March."
- "By putting together monopolies, much like John D. Rockefeller did when he developed a stranglehold on refining oil in the industrial era. In the post-industrial world, Mr. Slim has a stranglehold on Mexico’s telephones."