Mexico tycoons widen U.S. sports reach with Padres, Chivas USA deals


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MEXICO CITY -- A cousin of the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, has become a part owner of the San Diego Padres, and a married couple who are Mexican millionaires have taken control of Chivas USA, a Major League Soccer team.

The deals, announced in separate reports Wednesday, widen the reach of Mexico’s hyper-wealthy in the high-stakes world of professional sports in Southern California.


Alfredo Harp Helu, a billionaire banker and Slim’s cousin, appeared Wednesday on a list of eight new part-owners of slightly less than half of San Diego’s Major League Baseball team.

The sale was reported to be worth $800 million during negotiations, but details on the final purchase price paid by members of the team’s new minority group of owners were not revealed. Harp’s wealth is estimated at $1 billion.

From its Carson-based clubhouse, meanwhile, Chivas USA announced that Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes, the founder and chief executive, respectively, of the Omnilife nutritional supplements company have acquired the second half of the squad’s ownership from partners, becoming full owners.

Vergara and Fuentes are already owners of the original Chivas in Guadalajara, the popular First Division team in Mexico’s second largest city. The details of the Chivas USA deal were not released.

It’s been a good week for Fuentes, one of Mexico’s wealthiest women. On Tuesday she was named a chief patron of the newly renovated Rufino Tamayo Museum, which accompanied a minor controversy in Mexico’s art world.

Fuentes’ name appears prominently in a renovated gallery inside the museum, along with a gallery named in honor of billionaire Carlos Hank Rhon, brother of the scandal-ridden former mayor of Tijuana, Jorge Hank Rhon. Critics bemoaned the presence of the Hank Rhon name inside the museum as a symbol of the increasing privatization of public art institutions in Mexico.



Jorge Vergara takes full ownership of Chivas USA

Mexicans see a losing battle in the war on crooked police

A ‘Hank Rhon’ appears in a museum, and Mexicans mostly shrug

-- Daniel Hernandez