* Offering to fund expansion plans, possible acquisitions
* To be split evenly between local, international investors
* Sanborns accounts for half of Grupo Carso sales
By Cyntia Barrera
MEXICO CITY, Jan 10 Tycoon Carlos Slim's retail
unit said it plans to relist on the Mexican stock exchange,
offering a 15.2 percent stake to raise some $720 million to fund
expansion plans, including possible acquisitions.
Grupo Sanborns, the retail arm which accounts for about half
of sales for Slim's conglomerate Grupo Carso,
operates coffee shops, restaurants and department stores. It
previously traded in Mexico but delisted some years ago.
Slim, who Forbes ranks as the world's richest man, controls
a business empire that includes Latin America's biggest
telecommunications firm, America Movil, as well as
banking, construction, real estate and mining companies.
Seeking to raise 9.1 billion pesos, Sanborns will split the
up to 350 million share offering, which is still subject to
approval by shareholders, equally between domestic and
international investors. That includes a greenshoe option of 45
In 2010, the retailer flirted with the idea of opening a
branch in Manhattan but the plan never panned out.
Sanborns brought luxury store Saks Fifth Avenue to Mexico in
2007 and has opened a second store since. Slim is a top
shareholder in Saks Inc.
For the third-quarter of 2012, it earned 552 million pesos
($44 million) on 8.9 billion pesos in sales.
Sanborns tracks its origin to a small drug store founded in
downtown Mexico City in 1903 by young American brothers Walter
and Frank Sanborn.
The small business added a soda fountain that quickly drew
an eclectic crowd, from Mexican President Porfirio Diaz, who was
fond of sundaes and banana splits, to Revolutionary leaders
Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, who went in for hot cocoa.
The business, which kept its logo of three owls atop a tree
branch representing Frank Sanborn and his two children, was sold
to Slim's Grupo Carso in 1985.
The coffee chain is a stop for students on a budget who can
easily hook up to its wi-fi network while drinking inexpensive
coffee and office workers seeking an after-hours drink.