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Slim Buys Global Crossing Stock

March 23, 2004|From Reuters

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and his family have accumulated 9.1% of Global Crossing Ltd.'s common stock, the U.S. fiber optic network operator said Monday.

Reasons behind the purchase were not immediately clear.

Slim, Latin America's richest man who has acquired a slew of telecommunications assets throughout the region, is known for his ability to turn battered companies around. He could not be reached for comment.

Slim, who controls the largest mobile phone operator in Latin America, America Movil, and his family will own 5% of Global Crossing's total equity.

"We believe their investment shows confidence in our future," Global Crossing said.

Global Crossing said Slim's stake did not affect the controlling stake held by state-owned Singapore Technologies Telemedia, which owns 61.5% of the company.

The company's stock rose $1.79, or 13%, to $15.65 on Nasdaq, where it was among the top net gainers.

Global Crossing recently emerged from 22 months in bankruptcy protection.

It built a worldwide high-speed fiber optic network at the peak of the Internet boom but then failed under its debt load when demand and prices for telecommunications traffic dropped sharply.

Slim purchased U.S. electronics retailer Good Guys Inc. for about $55 million last year, via his Dallas-based computer retailer CompUSA Inc. He also owns a stake in upscale U.S. department store chain Saks Inc. Another one of his companies, Telefonos de Mexico, is the country's leading fixed-line and Internet service provider.

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