MEXICO CITY, MEXICO -- The Mexican telecom magnate surpassed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the world's richest man. Another month, another $3.5 billion dollars. That's the rate at which Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim 's fortune has been multiplying this year. The rapid accumulation of wealth may have already pushed him past Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to become the world's richest man.
Share prices are up 39% so far this year for Slim's América Móvil, the predominant wireless operator in Latin America. The stock of his fixed-line telephone company Telefonos de Mexico, which has a 90% market share in his native Mexico, is up 34%. Even his new regional infrastructure company, IDEAL, has seen its share price climb 28% this year, better than the Mexico stock exchange's 19.2% average.
Four months ago, the 67-year-old magnate net worth—which he shares with his six adult children—was estimated at $54 billion. But now, Mexican financial newsletter Sentido Común (Common Sense), crunching the most recent share-price indicators at the end of the second quarter, figures his fortune has climbed to $67.8 billion, outstripping that of Gates.
Slim, long known for his ability to spot undervalued companies and turn them into efficient, profitable enterprises, has often been called the "Warren Buffett of Latin America." But now the portly, cigar-puffing Slim is likely to be the one to whom other wealthy, rising entrepreneurs around the world will be compared. And now that Buffett has pledged to give away billions to Gates' charitable foundation, there is growing public pressure for Slim to start giving away more of his billions.
The savvy businessman said he was starting to significantly boost his charitable activities. The $1.2 billion endowment of his telecom company's Telmex
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