Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim

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Waleed Al Ibrahim
Waleed bin Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
NationalitySaudi Arabian
OccupationChairman of Middle East Broadcasting Company (MBC)
Years active1991 – present
Net worthUS$ 10.9 billion (2016)[1]

Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim (Arabic: وليد بن إبراهيم آل إبراهيم‎), better known as Waleed Al Ibrahim, is a Saudi Arabian businessman, and founder and chairman of Middle East Broadcasting Center, known as MBC Group. He is the first commercially successful TV channel owner in the Middle East.[2]

In 2018, the government of Saudi Arabia arranged to acquire 60 per cent of MBC, leaving the remaining 40 per cent of the company in Al Ibrahim’s hands.[3] MBC Group said in a statement that Al Ibrahim would retain his stake and had, in his capacity as chairman, reviewed growth plans during a Group meeting held in the United Arab Emirates on 29 May 2018.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Waleed Al Ibrahim was born and raised in Saudi Arabia.[5][6] He has eight brothers.[7] Two of his elder brothers, Abdulaziz and Khalid, are businessmen investing in real estate in the U.S..[8] One of Al Ibrahim's sisters, Al Jawhara Al Ibrahim, was one of the wives of the late King Fahd.[9][10] Another, Maha Al Ibrahim, is married to former deputy minister of defence and aviation, Prince Abdul Rahman. His third sister, Mohdi Al Ibrahim, is married to former Saudi minister of higher education,[11] Khaled Al Angari.[12]

Al Ibrahim received education in the US during the 1980s[13] and completed his higher education there.[14]


On 4 November, 2017, Al Ibrahim was detained in Saudi Arabia in a "corruption crackdown" conducted by a new royal anti-corruption committee.[15][16][17][18][19][20] This was done on authority of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. He was held at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel.

Over the weekend of 26-27 January 2018, Al Ibrahim was released along with at least half a dozen other prominent Saudi businessmen detained in the probe, after being found innocent of any wrongdoing.[21]

In May 2018, Saudi Arabian authorities allowed Al Ibrahim to leave the Kingdom for the first time since November to chair a strategy meeting at the headquarters of MBC Group in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Al Ibrahim was required to remain inside the Kingdom as the government finalised arrangements to take a controlling 60 percent stake in MBC.

Following the meeting, MBC Group released a statement, with Al Ibrahim quoted as saying: “The coming stage shall witness MBC Group’s entry into new markets and sectors, in various fields, with the group shifting a greater focus towards Saudi Arabia and neighbouring regions, in line with the current transformational positive changes occurring in the Kingdom.”[22]

Business activities[edit]


After completing his university education, al Ibrahim founded ARA Productions and Television Studios (ARAvision) in Saudi Arabia. It was his first enterprise in media.[14] Later, it was called ARA Group International, becoming a media conglomerate that is made up of several radio and television companies airing the whole Arab world.[23]

His company, ARAvision, was registered in Riyadh in 1995. The company was provided with an exclusive licence to deliver a wireless cable service to major cities in the Kingdom. Therefore, it was able to screen the satellite channels' content before being broadcast.[24]

Middle East Broadcasting Company (MBC)[edit]

Al Ibrahim founded MBC in London in 1991 with another entrepreneur, Saleh Kamal, launching the first independent Arabic satellite TV station.[25] In fact, the channel was directly linked to King Fahd himself through him. Waleed al Ibrahim was still in his twenties when he founded MBC.[24] MBC is part of ARAvision.[23] MBC acquired United Press International that was bankrupt at that time for $3.95 million in 1992 to bolster its news-gathering scope.[26]

Subsequently, the station introduced several movie and Arabic TV series channels including MBC 2, MBC 3 and MBC 4. Recently, two more channels were launched. One of them is MBC Persia, broadcasting Hollywood films with Persian subtitles, and the other one is MBC Action, airing action movies[14][24] and MBC Bollywood in 2013.

Al Ibrahim also launched Al Arabiya in February 2003 with the aim of providing an alternative to Al Jazeera. He stated his goal for Al Arabiya was to position it as the CNN to Al Jazeera's Fox News. Through this position, Al Arabiya was thought to be a TV channel that is calm, cool, professional, providing objective reporting rather than for extremely emphasized opinions.[6]

Although Al Ibrahim is widely known as the owner of the MBC, it is reported that fifty percent of the MBC profits are owned by late King Fahd's youngest son and his nephew, Abdulaziz bin Fahd. It is further reported that Prince Abdulaziz deals with both the profits and ideology of MBC Channels, including Al Arabiya.[27]


In the 1990s Al Ibrahim was shareholder and board member of the United Press International (UPI).[28] He served as the chairman of the UPI board until the early 1999.[28]

Family investments[edit]

In 1990, the wealth of his brothers, Abdulaziz Al Ibrahim and Khalid Al Ibrahim, was reported to have been US$1.0 billion.[29] It was argued that they made their wealth through being Boeing and Rolls-Royce representatives in Saudi deals.[29] Their wealth was reported to have been US$1.2 billion in 1991.[8] They had real estate investments in the US, including Marina del Rey in Los Angeles, a property near Disney World, and a hotel next to the Mayo Clinic.[8] They also invested in Orlando real estate.[30]


Al Ibrahim was the 27th richest Arab in the Middle East with the wealth of US$2.9 billion in 2009.[1] now with a networth of more than 6 billion dollars.


Al Ibrahim has been awarded for his contributions in the field of Arab media.[31] He was among top 20 prominent Gulf businessmen according to Amwal magazine in 2005.[32] He was chosen to be the 27th most influential Arab among 100 Arab personalities by Arabian Business in 2007.[33] He was named the 'Media Man of the Year' at the 4th MENA Cristal Awards held in Lebanon in 2008.[34] He also received other awards, including the "Knight" award from the Arab League in 2006 and "Innovator of the Year" award from Arabian Business.[34][35] He was chosen as the first among top 50 figures in MENA’s media, marketing and advertising industry in 2011.[36] He was named as the world's 66th most influential Arab personality among other 100 Arabs by Gulf News in 2012, citing his much more prominent position in the Arab media.[37] Arabian Business named him as the world's 24th most influential Arab among 500 others in 2012.[38]


In 2016, King Abdullah II of Jordan presented Al Ibrahim with the Grand Master of the Order of Independence for "his accomplishments and contributions for the development of the Arab media".[39]

Other positions[edit]

Waleed bin Ibrahim is a member of the advisory board of the Mohammed bin Rashid School for Communication (MBRSC) at the American University in Dubai (AUD).[40]


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