AL-WALEED BIN TALAL BIN ABDULAZIZ AL SAUD (Arabic : الوليد بن
طلال بن عبدالعزيز آل سعود, born 7 March
1955) is a
Saudi businessman, investor and philanthropist and a
member of the
Saudi royal family . He was listed on Time magazine's
Time 100 , an annual list of the hundred most influential people in
the world, in 2008. Al-Waleed is a grandson of
Ibn Saud , the first
Saudi king, a half-nephew of all
Saudi kings since, and a grandson of
Riad Al Solh (
Lebanon 's first prime minister).
He is the founder, chief executive officer and 95-percent owner of
Kingdom Holding Company , a
Forbes Global 2000 company with
investments in companies in the financial services, tourism and
hospitality, mass media, entertainment, retail, agriculture,
petrochemicals, aviation, technology and real-estate sectors. The
company had a market capitalization of over $18 billion in 2013.
Citigroup 's largest individual shareholder, the
second-largest voting shareholder in
21st Century Fox , and owns
Four Seasons Hotel George V and part of the
Plaza Hotel .
Time has called him the "Arabian Warren Buffett". In March 2016
Forbes listed Al-Waleed as the 41st richest man in the world, with an
estimated net worth of $17.3 billion.
The previous year, he announced that he would donate his fortune to
charity at an unspecified date. Some of the reasons he cited were to
foster cultural understanding and empower women.
* 1 Early life and education
* 2 Business career
* 4 Political views
* 5 Philanthropy
* 5.1 Donation after 11 September attacks
* 5.2 Western universities
* 5.3 First
Saudi female pilot
* 6 Assets
* 6.1 Palaces
* 6.2 Awards
* 7 Honours
* 8 Personal life
* 8.1 Ancestry
* 9 References
* 10 Further reading
* 11 External links
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Al-Waleed was born in
Jeddah on 7 March 1955 to Prince Talal and
Mona Al Solh, daughter of
Riad Al Solh (Lebanon's first prime
minister). His father was
Saudi Arabia’s finance minister during
the early 1960s, before he went into exile due to his advocacy for
political reform. Al-Waleed's grandmother was an Armenian , Munaiyir,
whose family escaped the
Armenian Genocide . She was presented by the
emir of Unayza to
Ibn Saud in 1921, when she was 12 years old and Ibn
Saud was 45.
Al-Waleed's parents separated when he was seven, and he lived with
his mother in Lebanon. As a boy, he ran away from home for a day or
two at a time (sleeping in unlocked cars) before attending military
school in Riyadh. Al-Waleed received a bachelor's degree in business
Menlo College in California in 1979, and a
master's degree with honors in social science from Syracuse University
Al-Waleed began his business career in 1979 after graduating from
Menlo College. He returned to
Saudi Arabia, which was in the midst of
the 1974–85 oil boom. Operating from a small, pre-fabricated office
in Riyadh, al-Waleed was successful in construction contracts and real
estate. He was first profiled by
Forbes in 1988.
After the end of the
Saudi oil boom, al-Waleed acquired the
Saudi Commercial Bank. Through mergers with
Saudi Cairo Bank and the
Saudi American Bank , it became a leading
Middle Eastern bank.
He bought a substantial tranche of shares in Citicorp in 1991, when
the company was in crisis. From an initial investment of $550 million
($2.98 per share after adjustments for stock splits, acquisitions and
spin-offs, according to Bloomberg calculations) to bail out Citibank
's underperforming American real-estate and Latin American
business-loan portfolios, his holdings in
Citigroup grew to about $1
Time reported in 1997 that al-Waleed owned about five percent of News
Corporation . In 2010 his
News Corporation stake was about seven
percent ($3 billion). Three years later
News Corporation had a $175
million (19-percent) investment in al-Waleed's
Rotana Group , the Arab
world's largest entertainment company. A review of his holdings
implied that al-Waleed had sold his investment in AOL.
His stake in
Citibank accounted for approximately half his wealth
before the financial crisis of 2007–08 . At the end of 1990
al-Waleed bought 4.9 percent of Citicorp’s common stock for $207
million ($12.46 per share), the maximum before he would be legally
obliged to declare his investment. In February 1991 he spent $590
million on new preferred shares, convertible to common shares at $16
each. This, an additional 10 percent of Citicorp, brought al-Waleed's
stake to 14.9 percent.
The Economist expressed doubts about the source of his
income, wondering if he was a front man for other
He has not earned enough income from his investments to pay for all
that he has spent in the 1990s. The mystery goes back to that first
stake in Citicorp. The prince has declared that this money came
entirely from his personal funds. He says he started out in 1979 with
a loan of just $30,000 from his father. He also mortgaged a house that
his father had given him, raising something like $400,000. And each
month, as a grandson of Ibn Saud, he receives $15,000. 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.
Al-Waleed invested in
AOL , Apple , MCI ,
Motorola , Fox Broadcasting
and other technology and media companies. His stake in Apple was sold
in 2005. Al-Waleed also invested in
Eastman Kodak and
TWA , both of
which performed poorly.
His real-estate holdings included large stakes in the Four Seasons
Hotels and Resorts and New York's
Plaza Hotel ; al-Waleed sold half
his shares in the latter in August 2004. He has invested in London's
Savoy Hotel and Monaco's Monte Carlo Grand Hotel. Al-Waleed holds a
ten-percent stake in
Euro Disney SCA , the company which owns, manages
Disneyland Paris in
Marne-la-Vallée . The Savoy
London is owned by al-Waleed.
In January 2005 Al-Waleed purchased the
Savoy Hotel in
London for an
estimated £ 250 million, to be managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
; his sister, Sultana Nurul, owns an estimated 16-percent stake. In
January 2006, in partnership with the U.S. real-estate firm Colony
NorthStar , Kingdom Holding acquired
Toronto -based Fairmont Hotels
and Resorts for an estimated $3.9 billion. It was reported in 2009
that Al-Waleed owned 35 percent of Research and Marketing Group
(SRMG), a large Mideast media company.
In August 2011 al-Waleed announced that his company had contracted
Bin Laden Group to build the world\'s tallest building , 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 "One-Mile Tower"), at a height of 1,609 metres
(5,279 ft) and an estimated cost of $20 billion.
In December 2011 Al-Waleed invested $300 million in
purchasing secondary shares from insiders. The purchase gave Kingdom
Holding a "more than 3% share" in the company, which was valued at $8
billion in late summer 2011.
According to research by the Dutch Fiscale inlichtingen- en
opsporingsdienst , Prince
Al-Waleed bin Talal received a bribery of
approximate 400 million dollars from the Dutch building company
Ballast Nedam .
In 2013 Kerry Dolan , editor of Forbes' annual billionaires' list,
wrote an article accompanying the list entitled "Prince Alwaleed and
the Curious Case of Kingdom Holding Stock". According to Dolan,
al-Waleed attached great importance to the
Forbes list and she alleged
a correlation between changes in the share price of Kingdom Holdings
and the annual run-up to the list's publication. Jeffrey Towson,
al-Waleed's former head of direct investments for
Asia-Pacific , published a report on his blog in response to the
Forbes article entitled "The 8 Big Mistakes in Forbes' Attack on
Prince Alwaleed". Towson wrote, "Forbes' explanation of his
behavior, his business and his investment strategy is one of the worst
I have ever seen. The tone is bad. But the content is worse."
According to Towson, the magazine skewed the axis of its
published-share-price chart to support the correlation. In the Forbes
article, Dolan wrote that al-Waleed would blind copy Dolan on text
messages he sent to prominent people in an attempt to impress her. She
spent a week with him in Riyadh in 2008, at his behest, touring his
palaces. In 2006
Forbes estimated al-Waleed's net worth at $7 billion
less than he claimed. He telephoned Dolan at home, according to the
editor, "nearly in tears". Al-Waleed had Kingdom Holding's chief
financial officer fly to New York before a previous list was published
to ensure that
Forbes used his stated numbers.
The article explains the methodology behind Forbes' 2013 estimate of
his wealth at $20 billion, examines Kingdom Holdings' share
performance and contains Dolan's communications with Kingdom Holdings
CFO Shadi Sanbar. Sanbar demanded that al-Waleed’s name be removed
from the billionaires' list if
Forbes did not increase its valuation
of his wealth. Dolan wrote, "As
Forbes asked increasingly specific
questions in the process of fact-checking this story, the prince acted
unilaterally the day before it was published, announcing through his
office that he would 'sever ties' with the list." Sanbar said in a
press release, "Prince Alwaleed has taken this step as he felt he
could no longer participate in a process which resulted in the use of
incorrect data and seemed designed to disadvantage Middle Eastern
investors and institutions."
Al-Waleed said in a March 2013 interview with The Sunday Telegraph
that he would pursue legal action against Forbes. "They are accusing
me of market manipulation," Al-Waleed said. "This is all wrong and a
false statement. We will fight it all the way against Forbes." He
Forbes list "flawed and inaccurate", saying that it
"displays bias against Middle East investors and financial
The Guardian reported that on 6 June 2013, al-Waleed had brought a
defamation claim in
London against the publisher of Forbes; its
Randall Lane , and two journalists from the magazine. Forbes
expressed surprise at the libel action and the fact that it was filed
in London. According to the magazine, "The Prince's suit would be
precisely the kind of libel tourism that the UK's recently-passed
libel reform law is intended to thwart. We would anticipate that the
London high court will agree.
Forbes stands by its story." As of 20
Forbes had not been served with papers.
A statement issued by the
Kingdom Holding Company accused
publishing a "deliberately insulting and inaccurate description of the
business community in
Saudi Arabia and specifically, Forbes'
denigration of the
Saudi stock exchange (Tadawul), which is one of the
most regulated in the world". According to al-Waleed, the magazine
used an "irrational and deeply flawed valuation methodology, which is
ultimately subjective and discriminatory".
On 16 June 2015,
Forbes and al-Waleed released a joint statement
announcing that they had settled their dispute "on mutually agreeable
terms". The opening of the
Saudi stock exchange to foreign investors
was cited as key in the defendants' willingness to consider the stock
price of al-Waleed's publicly traded
Kingdom Holding Company in
valuing the KHC component of his wealth.
Al-Waleed urged Arab nations to give up their hostility toward Israel
and seek peaceful coexistence. He later tweeted that the statement
was a fabrication. Al-Waleed tweeted a statement with a picture of
himself holding an honorary Palestinian passport, "In response to the
news of the visit to Israel: I have not and will not visit Jerusalem
or pray inside it until its liberation from the Zionist enemy. And I
carry an honorary Palestinian passport". A Syrian article questioned
In 2015, al-Waleed was criticised for offering to buy Bentley cars
Saudi fighter pilots involved in the
intervention in Yemen . In a tweet later deleted, he said: "In
appreciation of their role in this operation, I'm honoured to offer
100 Bentley cars to the 100
Al-Waleed is also a philanthropist, and much of his charitable
activity is in the field of educational initiatives to bridge gaps
between Western and Islamic communities. He has funded centers of
American studies in universities in the Middle East and centers of
Islamic studies in Western universities, which has made Campus Watch
Jewish American interest groups question the centers' academic
autonomy. In 2002, al-Waleed donated $500,000 to help fund the George
Herbert Walker Bush scholarship at
Phillips Academy in Andover,
Massachusetts . and donated £18.5 million to Palestinian families
during a TV telethon ordered by
King Fahd to help relatives of
Palestinians after Israeli operations in the
West Bank city of
In 2004, he contributed $17 million to victims of the 2004 Indian
Ocean earthquake and tsunami .
On July 1, 2015, al-Waleed held a press conference announcing his
intention to donate $32 billion to philanthropic causes. He said that
the funds would be used for humanitarian projects such as the
empowerment of women and youth, disaster relief, disease eradication
and building bridges of understanding between cultures.
DONATION AFTER 11 SEPTEMBER ATTACKS
September 11 attacks , al-Waleed gave a cheque for $10
New York City
New York City Mayor
Rudy Giuliani , despite Saudi
opposition. In a written statement after his donation, he said: "At
times like this, we must address some of the issues that led to such a
criminal attack. I believe the government of the United States of
America should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a
more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause." As a result of
that statement, Giuliani returned his cheque. Al-Waleed said to a
Saudi weekly magazine about Giuliani's rejection of his cheque, "The
whole issue is that I spoke about their position and they didn’t
like it because there are Jewish pressures and they are afraid of
In 2005, al-Waleed gave Georgetown University the second-largest
donation in history to create the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for
Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) in the Georgetown University
School of Foreign Service. On 8 May 2008, al-Waleed gave £16 million
Edinburgh University to fund a "centre for the study of Islam in
the contemporary world." He has also endowed the Prince Alwaleed Bin
Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research
(CASAR). The Institute for Computational Biomedicine at Weill Cornell
Medical College is named for al-Waleed. The Centre of Islamic Studies
University of Cambridge also bears the name of Al-Waleed, and
the Islamic Studies Program at
Harvard University are also named for
FIRST SAUDI FEMALE PILOT
Al-Waleed is considered a proponent of female emancipation in the
Saudi world. He financed the training of
Hanadi Zakaria al-Hindi as
Saudi woman commercial airline pilot, and said at her
graduation that he is "in full support of
Saudi ladies working in all
fields". Al-Hindi became certified to fly within
Saudi Arabia in
Al-Waleed owns the 65th-largest private yacht in the world, the
Kingdom 5KR (originally built as the Nabila for
Saudi arms dealer
Adnan Khashoggi in 1979). In 1983, owned by
Khashoggi, it appeared as the Flying Saucer (the yacht of James Bond
's villain, Largo) in
Never Say Never Again . It was sold to Donald
Trump , who renamed her the Trump Princess. Al-Waleed bought the yacht
after Trump experienced financial problems in the late 1980s.
Al-Waleed ordered a yacht known as the New Kingdom 5KR, about 173
meters (567 ft) long with an estimated cost of over $500 million. The
yacht is designed by Lindsey Design, and its design was delivered in
late 2010. However, there has been no recent news regarding the
He owns several aircraft converted for private use: a
Boeing 747 ,
Airbus 321 and a
Hawker Siddeley 125 . Al-Waleed was the first
individual to purchase an
Airbus A380 and was due to take delivery of
it in the spring of 2013, but it was sold before delivery.
Among his assets are a 95-percent stake in Kingdom Holding Company;
91-percent ownership of Rotana Video and Audio Visual Company;
90-percent ownership of the
Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation
Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation ;
seven-percent ownership of
News Corporation ; about six-percent
Citigroup , and a 17-percent ownership of
Al Nahar and a
25-percent ownership of
Ad-Diyar (two daily newspapers published in
Lebanon ). Al-Waleed topped the first
Saudi Rich List in 2009, with
assets of $16.3 billion.
Al-Waleed owns three palaces: two existing and a third under
construction. The 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) Kingdom Palace, in
central Riyadh, is his primary home. According to Time magazine,
"Al-Waleed and his two wives live in Riyadh,
Saudi Arabia in a $130
million sand-colored palace whose 317 rooms are adorned with 1,500
tons of Italian marble, silk oriental carpets, gold-plated faucets and
250 TVs. It has four kitchens, for Arabic, Continental and Asian
cuisines, and a fifth just for dishing up desserts, run by chefs who
can feed 2,000 people on an hour's notice. There is also a
lagoon-shaped pool and a 45-seat basement cinema". The
500,000-square-foot (46,000 m2) Kingdom Resort, also in central
Riyadh, has three lakes interspersed with gardens. The
4,000,000-square-foot (370,000 m2) Kingdom Oasis, under construction,
will have a 70,000-square-metre (17-acre) lake and a private zoo.
Al-Waleed received the first order of the Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud
Saudi Arabia in 2002 and is a recipient of the Lebanese National
Order of the Cedar . On 2 December 2009, he received the Order of
Mohamed Nasheed ; that year he also
received the Star of Palestine, the highest honour conferred by the
State of Palestine . In 2010, al-Waleed received the Dwight D.
Eisenhower Award for Innovation. He received the Bahrain Medal of the
First Order, the country’s highest honorary medal in late May 2012.
He received the Nepalese third-order Mahaujjval Rastradip Manpadvi,
the highest award bestowed on a foreigner, and
Colina De Boe Medal in August 2012. In June 2013 al-Waleed was made
Grand Commander of the Order of the
Republic of Sierra Leone (GCRSL),
the country's highest honour. On 13 December 2014, he was made an
Honorary Companion of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of
* Order of Abdulaziz al Saud.
* 2016: Grand Officer in the
Order of Grimaldi
Order of Grimaldi .
Al-Waleed's first wife was his cousin , Dalal bint Saud, a daughter
King Saud . They have two children (Prince Khaled, born 1978 and
Princess Reem, born 1982), and later divorced. His third wife was
Ameera al-Taweel ; after about six years of marriage, they divorced in
2014. In an interview, he said: "Yes, I announce it through
Saudi Gazette for the first time. I have officially separated
from Princess Ameera Al-Taweel, but she remains a person that I have
all respect for."
ANCESTORS OF AL-WALEED BIN TALAL
Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah Al Saud
Abdul Rahman bin Faisal
Abdul Rahman bin Faisal
17. Sarah bint Mishari bin Abdulrahman bin Hassan Al-Saud
18. Amed al-Kabir bin Mohammed bin Turki Al-Sudairy
9. Sarah bint Ahmed al-Kabir bin Mohammed Al-Sudairy
Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
1. Al-Waleed bin Talal
12. Reda Al Solh
Riad Al Solh
3. Mona Al Solh
7. Fayza Al Jabiri
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Al-Waleed bin Talal on Twitter
* Kingdom Holding Company
* WorldCat Identities
* VIAF : 57768445
* GND :