Carlos Slim, Mexico’s telecom mogul who owns almost every telecom business in the country, was just named by Forbes as the world’s richest man, unseating Microsoft founder Bill Gates for the first time. Slim is probably best known in the U.S. for his 2008 investment in the New York Times. that made him the Times largest shareholder and probably saved the paper from bankruptcy.
Slim squeaked by Gates by mere pocket change, only a half billion. Forbes estimated Slim’s fortune at $53.5 billion, while Gates had a net worth of $53 billion. London’s Guardian newspaper viewed Slims’ win as a changing of the guard, of sorts:
The old order is under threat at the world’s billionaires club. Traditionally dominated by Americans and Europeans, the top ranks of the world’s richest people have been infiltrated by scores of ultra-rich entrepreneurs from the developing world – capped by the Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim.
I’m hoping Slim’s next U.S. investment play will be the outright purchase of both California and Colorado. As long as he doesn’t use his monopoly of the cell phone business to foist the high rates on Americans that help him rake in such high profits in Mexico, it’s hard to imagine such a move would be worse than the status quo.