Billionaire Slim Agrees to Tighter U.S. Scrutiny of Movil Stakes

  • America Movil fined for violating FCC foreign-ownership rules
  • Telecom company to develop new compliance, reporting measures

Billionaire Carlos Slim agreed to tighter U.S. scrutiny of his family’s stake in America Movil SAB, Latin America’s largest telecommunications operator, after violating Federal Communications Commission rules on foreign ownership of phone companies.

America Movil and its Puerto Rico unit exceeded their FCC-approved ownership limits three times in five years, according to a filing by the agency Tuesday. To settle the violations, the company must pay a $1.1 million fine and develop new compliance measures, which will include seeking FCC approval for further stock purchases and filing monthly reports to the FCC on Slim family ownership and control interests.

Though foreign corporations and investors are prohibited from owning more than a 25 percent of a U.S. telecommunications carrier, the FCC’s International Bureau allows for waivers to the rule. In March, the agency permitted the Slim family to increase its stake in America Movil to a 75 percent equity interest and a 95 percent voting interest. 

Slim and his family have about a 60 percent equity interest and a 61 percent voting interest, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In some instances, the Slims failed to seek the FCC’s approval before they increased their stakes in Mexico City-based America Movil, which owns Puerto Rico Telephone Co., giving the FCC authority over the matter.

An America Movil press official declined a request for comment. Slim’s spokesman, Arturo Elias Ayub, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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