Carlos Slim is not interested in buying Banamex, according to someone familiar with his thinking. A crown jewel of the Mexican financial system, Banamex is said to be reluctantly for sale by Citigroup, under pressure to raise capital.
Citigroup paid $12.5 billion for Banamex in 2001. Mexican financiers estimate it is worth $9 to $10 billion. While it has declined in value, Banamex may have held up well if those numbers are accurate, especially if compared to Citigroup, Bank of America , Morgan Stanley , Goldman Sachs , and JP Morgan Chase .
Slim, a telecom magnate and the second richest man in the world, is a natural buyer. First, he has the money. Slim is worth roughly $30 billion according to Sentido Comun, a website that monitors his wealth via his known stock holdings. In addition, he controls a large finance company, Imbursa, which would provide strategic synergies.
Observers say Slim may be reluctant to purchase the bank because he is already a lightning rod for criticism in Mexico, primarily for being so wealthy in a country with high levels of poverty. He has long been accused of being a monopolist; he controls roughly 90 percent of all landlines in Mexico. However, his control of the overall telecom market has eroded with the advent of wireless phones.