Carlos Slim: America Movil May Divest on Mexico West Coast
Carlos Slim, the billionaire chairman emeritus of America Movil SAB, spoke with Bloomberg TV’s Betty Liu today to discuss business in Mexico, the outlook for American Movil and his partnership with Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.
To comply with new laws in Mexico, Slim said America Movil has been in talks about selling assets even more broadly, “to the west coast and the border.”
When asked about the new telecommunications regulations, Slim said: “What you need in business is clear rules….And if you have some regulations that is a mandate of law, you should do that.”
On Mark Zuckerberg’s recent visit to Mexico, Slim said: “We were very happy with his presence.” Slim and Zuckerberg discussed giving “broadband access to all….and education and other issues that are very important for this new society of knowledge and technology.”
Appearing alongside Slim for the interview was Anthony Kennedy Shriver, founder of Best Buddies International Inc., to discuss their global campaign to highlight the benefits of hiring workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
source: Bloomberg Television
BETTY LIU: Someone who is not a cynic who is trying to help the world is none other than Carlos Slim. He’s a fellow billionaire philanthropist whose fortune from telecom assets in Mexico has allowed him to fund causes from better healthcare for women to creating jobs for the world’s poor. Carlos Slim joining me, the founder of course of America Movil. Carlos, great to have you herein the studio with us.
Also joining us alongside Carlos Slim is Anthony Shriver. He’s the founder of Best Buddies, to talk about their fresh efforts to employ those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Anthony, great to have you here as well. Now you and I were just talking off camera a few moments ago. You two have been in partnership on Best Buddies for the last 12 years. How did you two meet?
ANTHONY SHRIVER: It’s a long story, but it’s amazing he’s still my friend after 12 years. Most people run away from me very quickly. But we met actually down in Mexico City. I was down there on a couple different projects and approached actually his son-in-law who was very interested in what we were doing for people with intellectual disabilities. And then unfortunately for Carlos, introduced me to Carlos and I haven’t let him go for 12 years. So it’s been a great friendship though.
CARLOS SLIM: He met the president of the foundation and we liked the program immediately. And that’s why we met and that’s why we work from the first moment together.
LIU: Why did you like this program? What was about this program that hires people with disability, why is that important for you?
SLIM: Well I think that is not (inaudible) sometimes it’s different abilities. You have people with dyslexia. That are people outstanding. Many of them are outstanding because they have problems for something but they develop other abilities. People that is blind or people that is deaf. And (inaudible) is very important. We think that it’s very important that all people get involved in the – in the society, get integrated to – for different reasons so that —
LIU: And you – and you have hired people through this program that Anthony Shriver founded, right?
SLIM: Well at first we invite our scholarships to be the best buddy of some people with different abilities, and it was very positive reaction of the – of the – of the college people, the college young people to get involved in the program. And that’s the way we have worked in the last 12 years.
LIU: Anthony, are there other companies that you’re targeting right now to – to join in on your program? Who has signed up here?
SHRIVER: Well we – we’ve targeted every company. That’s the goal of I’m In To Hire is to try to throw the web very, very large to show people that someone like Carlos who has every opportunity in the world is interested and engaged and including and creating a diverse workforce and realize the business benefits of a diverse workforce. So I think with his leadership, other companies will follow. And there’s no limit to what we want to do. So there’s almost 5 million people with intellectual disabilities unemployed in the United States, so it’s a gigantic population of people that need jobs, need inclusive jobs, and jobs that are well paying jobs where they can support and sustain themselves independently in the community on a year-to-year basis.
SLIM: I think it’s not only companies. Also governments should hire people with different abilities. And government in all the levels, federal government, state government, city government. It’s very important that people —
LIU: All big employers essentially, right?
SLIM: Yes. Big and medium and small. Everyone.
LIU: Everybody. And Carlos, this is in keeping with I believe your philosophy in giving, which is that you want to give to organizations that create jobs, right? You respect other people who give to organizations that fight disease or poverty, but you want to create jobs with your giving. Is that right?
SLIM: No. I think both things are very important.
SLIM: It’s very important to create and develop human capital. That is health and education. Education is the main issue also. But when you have education and health, okay, you finish only with poverty only with employment is the last solution. I think the problems of today are these both, education and employment. Education (inaudible) and not only academic education but education for work. Training, (inaudible), learning different areas where work is available or is developing.
LIU: Because that’s a big issue in Mexico, right?
SLIM: That’s a big issue worldwide.
LIU: Worldwide, and Mexico –
SLIM: – that have big problems of unemployment. It should be solved. And the only way to solve poverty with dignity is with employment, and good employment like Anthony’s telling.
LIU: Well, because I’ve always been curious about this, Carlos, and we’ve met a couple of times. I met you once at the Clinton Global Initiative in fact and I know you’re very close to the Clintons. You’ve talked before about how you have your own distinct way of giving. You haven’t signed on for instance to Warren Buffett or Bill Gates and their giving pledge. They have a different philosophy in giving.
SLIM: We have a project. We put all the money that is necessary. We don’t make budgets. How can we solve the problems? How can we have national impact? How we can have a big impact. But we are very highly involved in health. We have an institute of health. We are making research in genetics, but also we work in the area, in the field, in the places, in the rural areas and looking how to bring better health there, these places.
LIU: But you haven’t – but you haven’t signed on. You’ve worked with Buffett or Gates?
SLIM: I don’t just (ph) to sign this kind of agreement. I don’t understand why to do it. Why 50 not 30 or 80 or 100.
SLIM: I do need to do some problems, not to get – not to give away only but to try to make it happen. I think that business men have the resources and experience to get involved personally in the solution of the problems. It’s not a matter of giving. It’s a matter of acting and being involved in the solution.
LIU: Anthony, what’s it been like to have a Carlos Slim join your initiative? How did it ramp up after he joined?
SHRIVER: Well it’s been great, huge. I think so many people in the world tend to follow the leader as a general rule.
LIU: And who else but the leader here?
SHRIVER: Right. He’s sort of one of the great leaders.
SLIM: The leader here is Anthony.
SHRIVER: Which is why we were kidding before. He keeps saying how good I am. I’d like to change jobs with him and see how well we –
SHRIVER: But it’s been great for us and great for our movement and extremely helpful.
LIU: Well speaking about being a leader, Carlos, we’ve got to talk a little bit of business. You’ve been the leader in the telecoms market in Mexico, and of course the Mexican president –
SLIM: – 28 countries.
LIU: You are, yes.
SLIM: In 28 countries in most of Latin America. In US we have an important operation, and now we get involved in Europe also.
LIU: Well we were talking about – earlier about spitting up companies in the US. HP and eBay splitting up. And I know in Mexico there’s reforms and – and you’re anticipating splitting up America Movil. It’s actually helped your stock price. It’s actually been a benefit it seems. Shareholders are applauding this – this breakup.
SLIM: Well it’s a recuperation of value. It’s not – it’s only the – until now it’s recuperation of the value that have lost in the past.
LIU: In the past. Do you support this – do you support the reforms that have been taking place in Mexico?
SLIM: Well, I think that two years ago, one year and a half ago the constitution was changed. What you need in business is clear rules. And the rule that was put in place is that the market share will be until 50 percent. That’s okay. What you need in business is rules and a state of law. And if you have some regulations that is a mandate of law, you should do that.
LIU: Well in this complying with the rules, I know America Movil has been in talks with various parties about buying up its assets on the east coast of Mexico. Have you been negotiating with AT&T for instance?
SLIM: It’s not east coast.
LIU: It’s not?
SLIM: The east coast. It’s something more bigger — go to the west coast and the – and the border —
LIU: It’s a bigger package of assets.
SLIM: Well it’s the package that is – we think is the right to bid on, but always we are working with the potential – potential buyers to have an agreement. The bank is doing the job and the bank is working on that to have the information available to make the corporations that are interested to get involved on that.
LIU: And are you closer —
SLIM: That’s what I can tell you.
LIU: Are you closest to the deal with AT&T?
SLIM: That’s what I can tell you.
LIU: That’s all you can tell me. All right. On one final front, Carlos, I know you had Mark Zuckerberg for the first time in Mexico recently. Isn’t that right?
SLIM: Yes. We were very happy with his presence. He was – we have every year a meeting, a conference with 10,000 scholarships. We have 18,000 but they hold 10,000 in the place in the National Auditorium. And he was very, very nice and we were very happy that he was there in Mexico.
LIU: What did the two of you talk about specifically?
SLIM: A few things. Well, about many – many, how do you say — things in common like give internet access to everyone. That’s what we are working from a few years in the broadband commission of ITU of the United Nations, broadband access to all. That’s one of the points. And education and other issues that are very important for this new society of knowledge and – and technology.
LIU: Well as he said, he was – he said he grew up admiring Bill Gates, but I think he’s going to use Carlos Slim now as his – as his role model.
SLIM: He’s a really outstanding person and his wife is also very – very – very special people – very special person.
LIU: Very – yes indeed. And Anthony of course, Facebook and other big companies of course would be great signing on to –
SHRIVER: Absolutely. Hopefully Mark Zuckerberg will get the hint from him and (inaudible) Facebook. I’m trying to get in there. We haven’t had success, but maybe not.
LIU: All right. Anthony, thank you so much. Anthony Shriver of Best Buddies. And thank you, Carlos Slim, for joining me as well.