FOREIGN TRADE: Operation Mexico

In Mexico City, most businesses require at least two telephones. Reason: there are two companies, Mexican Ericsson Co. and Mexicana Telephone & Telegraph Co., and their switchboards do not connect. Last week, a $49 million merger was completed to end this inconvenience. The new combination would be called Telefonos de Mexico, S.A., and an old hand at empire-building hoped that it would make him Mexico's telephone king. The man: Sweden's famed Axel Wenner-Gren, 66.

With a Viking's daring, blue-eyed Axel Wenner-Gren founded the Swedish-Electrolux Co. in 1919 and girdled the world with its subsidiaries. Before long, he also controlled the...

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