Slim expands empire

Carlos Slim, head of Latin American powerhouse America Movil and third richest man in the world, may be jumping a couple of spaces in the rich list on the back of a move to consolidate his empire.

The proposal, announced Thursday, would see America Movil take full control of three other telecoms firms Slim owns major stakes in.

The offer is a two for one share swap made to the shareholders of Carso Global Telecom, which would give America Movil ownership of 59.4 per cent of the outstanding shares of Mexican fixed line operator Teléfonos de México (Telmex), and 60.7 per cent of the outstanding shares of Telmex Internacional.

America Movil has also offered to purchase of all of Telmex Internacional’s shares that are not already owned by Carso (39.3 per cent).

If successful, Slim would delist both Carso Telecom and Telmex from their respective trading indices and create a regional behemoth. America Movil had 194.3 million wireless subscribers and 3.8 million landlines in the Americas at eth end of September 2009, with operations in 15 Latin American countries, as well as Jamaica and the US. The consolidation would give it over 250 million customers in the Americas.

And as Forbes notes, the move would mean Slim’s fortune would change by billions of dollars every time America Movil stock moves just a few dollars.

Slim ranks alongside the likes of Sunil Bharti Mittal and Saad Al Barak in the mobile industry as the leader of a developing market powerhouse that could well upset the established order in the operator community. In fact, earlier this week, Mittal’s operation, Indian operator Bharti Airtel agreed to acquire at 70 per cent stake in Bangladeshi service provider Warid Telecom backed by an investment totalling $1bn.

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