Carlos Slim Plans to Sell Retailer Sanborns Shares

Billionaire Carlos Slim plans to sell shares of his Mexican retail and restaurant company, Grupo Sanborns.

Slim’s Grupo Carso SAB, based in Mexico City, will call shareholder meetings to authorize a public offering of the shares, according to a filing today. Slim, the world’s richest person according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, owns almost 80 percent of Carso.

The listing follows the 2011 spinoffs of Carso’s mining and real-estate units as Slim breaks the holding company into pieces to better reflect their value. Sanborns, which includes a retail chain of the same name and Mexican locations of Sears and Saks stores, is Carso’s largest division, making up about half of sales.

Carso fell 1 percent to 61.57 pesos at the close in Mexico City before the Sanborns listing was announced. The shares surged 85 percent last year.

With annualized sales of more than 80 billion pesos ($6.34 billion), Carso is the third-biggest holding in Slim’s $77.8 billion portfolio, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It trails only wireless carrier America Movil SAB and financial-services firm Grupo Financiero Inbursa SAB.

Sanborns History

Sanborns was a publicly traded company until 2006, when Carso announced plans to buy the outstanding shares. Carso’s other holdings include a construction unit and a division that makes industrial materials such as pipes and ducts.

Slim acquired control of the Sanborns chain in 1985 and expanded it from 32 stores to 165 outlets across Mexico, with two locations in El Salvador and one in Panama as of the end of 2011, according to Carso’s annual report.

The Sanborns chain, founded in 1903 by immigrant brothers from California who opened a pharmacy in Mexico City, sports a restaurant and bar in most locations, along with electronics, gifts, magazines, books, video games and music.

Carso bought a majority stake in 1997 in the Mexican locations of the company that is now Sears Holdings Corp. Sears is now the biggest part of Grupo Sanborns, making up more than half of its sales.

Through the end of 2011, Slim had opened two Saks Fifth Avenue locations in Mexico through an agreement with Saks Inc. Grupo Sanborns also includes Sanborns-branded cafes, Mix-Up music stores and I Shop computer outlets.

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