Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, who has been called the world’s richest man by Forbes, recently put some more of his vast wealth into The New York Times Co., where he bought 553,000 “Class A” shares, increasing his total stake in the newspaper publisher from roughly 6.9% to 7.3%.
The purchase was made on August 18 by Slim’s Inmobiliaria Carso SA investment fund, in a price range of $6.83 to $7.09 per share.
Slim’s son-in-law, Arturo Elias Ayub, explained the decision to up their investment in NYTCO — and a similar move to increase his share of luxury retailer Saks — to the Financial Times: “We are buying because we feel that the shares are at a very good price, and we are increasing our holdings in the two companies.”
In January 2009, Slim made a special, high-interest loan of $250 million to NYTCO, which the company recently paid back ahead of schedule. While it helped NYTCO through a rough financial patch, the amount of the loan was modest by the standards of a man whose total holdings were valued earlier this year at $74 billion byForbes , and $62 billion by Bloomberg.
Subsequent stock market movements have shaved off up to $10 billion of this, leaving the Mexican tycoon with $52 billion.
Slim’s wealth is concentrated in his portfolio of Mexican businesses — above all America Movil SAB, a huge cellular service provider, with additional holdings in landline telephony, mining, banking, retail, and construction, among other industries.
Most of his wealth derives from his 1990 purchase of Telmex, previously the state-owned Mexican telephone monopoly, in a controversial privatization auction overseen by then-President Carlos Salinas, who was criticized for directing the sales of many state companies to his supporters.
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