Friday, January 27, 2012

Al-Waleed bin Talal

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal (also spelled Waleed bin Talal) (Arabic: الوليد بن طلال بن عبد العزيز آل سعود‎; born 7 March 1955) is a Saudi Arabian businessman and investor. He is a member of the Saudi royal family. He is the nephew of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. An entrepreneur and international investor he has amassed a fortune through investments in real estate and the stock market.

He is founder, CEO and 95%-owner of Kingdom Holding Company. As of March 2011, his personal wealth is estimated to be US$19.6 billion by Forbes, making him the 26th richest person in the world and richest Saudi Arabian. This listing also ranks him as the richest Saudi Arabian in the world. He has been nicknamed by Time magazine as the "Arabian Warren Buffett".

Early Life
Al-Waleed bin Talal was born to Talal ibn Abd al-Aziz ( the son of the founding King of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Al Saud ) and Princess Mona El-Solh, daughter of Riad as-Solh, Lebanon's first Prime Minister. He is Prince Talal's second son.

Al-Waleed received a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration with high honors from Menlo College in California in 1979. He then received a Master's of Social Science with honors from Syracuse University in 1985.

Business interests
Al-Waleed began his business career in 1979 upon graduation from Menlo College in California. The Prince's activities as an investor came to prominence when he bought a substantial tranche of shares in Citicorp in the 1990s when that firm was in difficulties. With an initial investment of $550 million ($2.98 a share after adjusting for stock splits, acquisitions and spin-offs, according to Bloomberg calculations) to bail out Citibank caused by underperforming American real estate loans and Latin American businesses, his holdings in Citigroup now comprise for about $1 billion. His investments in Citibank earned him the title of "Arabian Warren Buffett".

His stake in Citibank once accounted for approximately half of his wealth, prior to the recent financial crisis. At the end of 1990 he bought 4.9 percent of Citicorp’s existing common shares for $207 million ($12.46 per share)—the most that he could without being legally obliged to declare his interest. In February 1991, as American troops stationed in Saudi Arabia were preparing for war with Iraq, the prince spent $590m buying new preferred shares, convertible into common shares at $16 each. This amounted to a further 10% of Citicorp and took his stake to 14.9%.

Later, he also made large investments in AOL, Apple Inc., MCI Inc., Motorola, Fox News and other technology and media companies.

His real estate holdings have included large stakes in the Four Seasons hotel chain and the Plaza Hotel in New York. He sold half of his shares in the latter in August 2004. He has made investments in London's Savoy Hotel and Monaco's Monte Carlo Grand Hotel. He currently holds a 10% stake in Euro Disney SCA, the company that owns, manages and maintains Disneyland Paris in Marne-la-Vallee, France.

In January 2005, Al-Waleed purchased the Savoy Hotel in London for an estimated GBP £250 million, to be managed by Fairmont Hotels; his sister, The Princess Sultana Nurul Al-Waleed owns an estimated 16% stake. In January 2006, in partnership with the U.S. real estate firm Colony Capital, Kingdom Holding acquired Toronto, CA-based Fairmont Hotels for an estimated $3.9 billion.

In August 2011, Al-Waleed announced that his company had contracted Saudi Binladen Group to build the next tallest building in the World, the Kingdom Tower at a height of at least 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) for SR 4.6 billion. The original plan announced in 2008 called it برج الميل (Arabic for "the Tower of One Mile") at 1,609 metres (5,279 ft) and an estimated cost of US$10 billion.

In 1997, Time Magazine reported that bin Talal owned about 5 percent of News Corporation. By 2010 Alwaleed's stake in News Corp. was a stake of about 7% worth $3Bn; and News Corp. had a $70 million (9%) investment in Al-Waleed's Rotana Group, the Arab World's largest entertainment company. This review of his holdings also referred to the Al-Waleed investment AOL as if it was perhaps in the past.

In June 2011 bin Tahal was linked with a takeover of Premier League football club Everton for a reported £100 million. It remains to be seen whether or not he will follow up on the link.[citation needed]

In December 2011, bin Tahal invested $300 Million in Twitter through the purchase of secondary shares from insiders. The purchase gives Kingdom Holding a "more than 3% share" of the company, which was valued at $8Bn in late summer 2011.

Al-Waleed owns the 85.9-meter (282-foot) yacht Kingdom 5KR,, originally built as the "Nabila" for Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. The yacht posed as the Flying Saucer, the yacht of James Bond villain Largo in the film Never Say Never Again. It was later sold to Donald Trump, who renamed her Trump Princess. Al-Waleed bought back the yacht after Trump's second bankruptcy.

He has ordered a new yacht currently known as the New Kingdom 5KR which will be about 173 meters (557 feet) long and carries an estimated cost of over $500 million. The yacht is rendered by Lindsey Design and is expected to be delivered in late 2010.

Al-Waleed owns several aircraft, all converted for private use: a Boeing 747, an Airbus 321 and an Hawker Siddeley 125. Also on order is an Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft, which is scheduled for delivery in 2012. This has been noted in the 2009 Guinness World Records as the largest private jet in the world.

Al-Waleed also owns more than 200 cars, including Rolls Royces, Lamborghinis, Ferraris etc.

The Economist has expressed doubts about the source of income of Prince Al Waleed and whether he is a front man for other Saudi investors. According to it, his income in the 1990s was insufficient to cover his expenditures. "You could barely clothe a Saudi prince for such sums, let alone furnish him with a multi-billion-dollar empire. Nevertheless, by 1991 Prince Alwaleed had felt able to risk an investment of $797m in Citicorp", writes the magazine.

Among his many assets are: a 95 percent stake in Kingdom Holding Company; 91 percent ownership of Rotana Video & Audio Visual Company; 90 percent ownership of LBC SAT; 7 percent ownership of News Corporation; about 6 percent ownership of Citigroup; and 17 percent ownership of Al Nahar and 25 percent ownership of Al Diyar, two daily newspapers published in Lebanon.

In addition to his 63rd place ranking on the Forbes Billionaire List in 2011, Prince Al-Waleed topped the first Saudi Rich List issued in 2009, with a fortune of $16.3bn.

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