WSJ Anoints Carlos Slim as World’s Richest Man

I was travelling over the weekend, and so I missed David Luchnow’s


of Carlos Slim in the WSJ. Boy am I glad I found it now! It’s

an excellent piece – I think the first-ever story I’ve ever read about

Slim where the writer is both critical of the Mexican squillionaire and also

managed to get an interview with him. (The link is free: you don’t need to be

a subscriber to read it.)

Luchnow is actually a bit more critical of Slim than I would be, bashing him

as a heavy-handed monopolist (which he is) while downplaying the point that

he’s an incredibly astute businessman who has made many billions of dollars

in much more competitive telecommunications markets outside Mexico. But the

article is very solid, very well reported, and even has a quote from secretive

Mexican financier David Martinez, who compares Slim unfavorably to US robber

barons of old.

Luchnow also uses the power of the WSJ to bestow the title of World’s Richest

Man on Slim – something which Forbes, for one, has been reluctant to do.

Luchnow does not, however, credit the enormous and across-the-board rerating

of Latin American stocks for Slim’s wealth, which is weird. Yes, the man is

worth $20 billion more today than he was a couple of years ago. But essentially

all of that increase in wealth can be explained by the fact that Latin stocks,

which used to trade at a discount to their US peers, now trade at essentially

the same multiples. And although Slim is certainly a powerful man, even he can’t

move p/e ratios across the entire continent.

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