Ed Whitacre and Carlos Slim’s telecom empires are so intricately intertwined and interlinked, that we have no choice but to call them telecom’s ultimate buddy team – the Tango & Cash of the phone business. They often say nice things about each other in interviews, and well, their friendship has proved to be quite profitable for both parties.
The bid to get a piece of Olimpia is not the first time Slim, the third richest man in the world and Whitacre, by far the most powerful man in telecom, have teamed up.
Here is a quick rundown of their business ventures thus far:
In 1990, SBC bought a 10% stake in Telmex. That $1 billion investment is worth about $10 billion now.
In 1997 Carlos Slim bought a controlling stake in Prodigy and invested about $450 million. Slim sat on the board of SBC, which bought a controlling interest in the ISP in 1999. SBC later bought the rest of Prodigy. Slim and some of the companies he controlled made more than $100 million in profit.
In 2004, Slim left the board of SBC. He was building up stakes in MCI and Global Crossing at that time.
In 2005, AT&T and Telmex bought a minority stake in 2Wire, a set-top box maker.
AT&T (SBC International to be more precise), owns 2.87 billion AA-class shares of America Movil (AMX) which gives the company about 24.61% of voting shares. SBC contributed some assets to the company at the time of its launch back in 2000. America Movil’s market cap is about $85 billion.
Now if all of us were so lucky to have a friend like Slim or Whitacre!