The Wall Street Journal has an article this morning detailing a growing challenge to the reign of Telecom's (and the world's) richest man, Mexico's Carlos Slim, and América Móvil, which he controls. A few weeks ago, Mexico's antitrust regulator actually worked up the mojo to fine his Telcel subsidiary $1B for monopolistic practices. Then last week, the country's Supreme Court ruled that Telcel couldn't ignore regulatory decisions while challenging them in court. These events, as well as a growing challenge from Televisa, are billed as potentially reshaping the competitive landscape in Mexico.
Well, I'll believe it when I see it. Slim's power south of the border is not something one can unravel with a few fines and regulatory rulings. Look how much it has taken Australia to take on Telstra in a meaningful way, and then consider that Slim's stranglehold is probably quite a bit more complete. But if there's a downside to being proclaimed the world's richest man, it's that even your allies won't be sending troops to your defense. Perhaps Slim's consolidation of his holdings last year was ill-advised, not from an organizational or financial standpoint, but rather that gave his opponents a single target to focus on.
I've always wondered if Carlos Slim would ever make a serious effort to expand outside of Latin America. At one point a few years back, he did buy a 10% stake in Global Crossing to sit alongside Singapore Technologies and Telemedia. But he sold out of that position a year or so later.
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