Pegs Mexican tycoon’s fortune at $53.5 billion, ahead of Gates and Buffett

By MarketWatch
BOSTON (MarketWatch) — Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu has jumped ahead of Bill Gates to become the world’s richest man, according to a closely-watched survey.

Forbes Magazine late Wednesday named telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu as the world’s richest man in its annual ranking, dethroning Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT 29.12, -0.06, -0.21%) .

AM Report: Who is Carlos Slim?
For the first time, a person from a developing nation leads Forbes’ list of millionaires. Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim beat out Bill Gates and Warren Buffett on the list. The News Hub panel discusses what the change could mean for emerging markets.

Slim’s wealth was estimated at $53.5 billion by Forbes, compared with Gates’ $53 billion. Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK.A 123,500, +162.00, +0.13%) (BRK.B 82.35, -0.01, -0.01%) Warren Buffett came in third with $47 billion.

Slim’s fortune has jumped an estimated $18.5 billion over the past year, thanks to a rally in his telecom holdings, Forbes reported.

Slim is the controlling shareholder in both America Movil (AMX 47.85, -0.04, -0.09%) and Grupo Carso Telecom.

Mexican regulatory authorities last month approved America Movil’s $21 billion plan to buy fixed-line operator Telefonos de Mexico (TMX 15.50, -0.16, -1.02%) and Telmex Internacional (TII 18.64, +0.05, +0.27%) through the purchase of their holding company Grupo Carso Telecom. Shares of all four companies currently make up a third of Mexico’s IPC equity benchmark.

Slim also owns a stake in New York Times Co. (NYT 11.52, -0.17, -1.45%) and there has been speculation recently he may be interested in buying the company.

Gates had held the title in 14 of the last 15 years, the magazine said.

Last year, Gates was ranked as the world’s richest man, followed by Buffett and Slim. Buffett was No. 1 in 2008.