Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim (C) addresses the audience next to his son Carlos Slim Domit (L) and Oscar Von Hauske, general director of Telmex International, in Mexico City January 31, 2011. (Photo : REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez)
Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim has made his first foray into ownership of soccer teams as his mobile giant America Movil (AMXL.MX) acquired a 30 percent stake in two clubs in the country's first division.
The company said on Friday it had purchased stakes in top flight sides Pachuca and Leon from owners Grupo Pachuca. This was the first time Slim has taken holdings in soccer teams, according to a spokesman for the telecoms billionaire.
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Another spokesman for Slim, the world's richest man, said the company would provide details of the deal on Thursday.
By buying into the Mexican soccer clubs, he is following in the footsteps of television magnates Emilio Azcarraga and Ricardo Salinas, who have spent years battling with Slim for control of the country's telecommunications market.
Slim dominates the market for mobile and fixed phones, but the government has kept him out of Mexico's main television market. However, he does operate local online news site Uno Noticias, which airs sports and cultural programs for free.
In the opinion of Slim's biographer Jose Martinez, America Movil had taken the stakes in the two soccer teams to create more publicity for the company.
Pachuca is one of Mexico's oldest clubs, founded in 1901 by Cornish miners, and was one of the most successful teams over the past decade, winning several league championships.
Now managed by Mexico's former star striker Hugo Sanchez, Pachuca is currently lying 13th in the 18-team top division. Leon, by contrast, is in 5th place.
Slim is a noted fan of the New York Yankees baseball team and has previously used his wealth to sponsor a number of sports, including boxing and motor racing.
Earlier this week, his cousin Alfredo Harp Helu became a part owner of the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball team.