According to Forbes magazine the 5th richest man in the world is 48, self made, married with 2 children and a net worth of $23.7 billion and counting.
He is Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, nephew of the Saudi king, who began building his investment portfolio in 1979, when he returned to Saudi Arabia after graduating from college in the United States.
Initially focusing on construction and real estate. he soon became a successful entrepreneur and an astute global investor and his Kingdom Holding Company today has investments in banking, real estate, telecommunications, broadcasting and media, entertainment, hospitality, computers and electronics, agriculture, restaurants, upscale fashion, retailing, supermarkets, tourism, travel, and automotive manufacturing.
Later this year there will be a rare opportunitiy for investors when he floats one of his investment vehicles, Kingdom Hotel Investments on the stock exchanges in London and Dubai. KHI owns stakes in 26 hotels including the Savoy in London and the George V in Paris.This will be the first time he has taken a company public and marks a landmark in the career of this extraordinary billionaire.
He is a serial dealmaker. Last year he unloaded his half of New York’s Plaza Hotel and plowed the profits into buying stakes in London’s Savoy Hotel and Monaco’s Monte Carlo Grand. In January he helped bail out an ailing Disneyland-Paris with a $30 million cash injection. A vocal supporter of women’s rights, he hired the first female airplane pilot in Saudi Arabia, a country where women still can’t legally drive.
Clearly pleased with his stock picking prowess, he took out ads on CNN touting his holdings. “We’re telling the market all these companies are number one in their field,” crows Alwaleed.
The prince approaches philanthropic work with the same dedication he gives to his investment activities. He has financed the construction of over eighty mosques and built electricity generators, wells, roads and bridges throughout the kingdom.
Prince Alwaleed holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Menlo College and a master’s degree in Social Science from Syracuse University, as well as honorary degrees from the University of New Haven, Kyungwon University in Korea, and Syracuse University.
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