Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim
|Waleed Al Ibrahim|
|Born||Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim|
|Occupation||Chairman of Middle East Broadcasting Company (MBC)|
|Years active||1991 – present|
|Net worth||US$ 10.9 billion (2016)|
Early life and education
Waleed Al Ibrahim was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. He has eight brothers. Two of his elder brothers, Abdulaziz and Khalid, are businessmen investing in real estate in the U.S.. One of Waleed Al Ibrahim's sisters, Al Jawhara Al Ibrahim, was one of the wives of the late King Fahd. 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, Khaled Al Angari.
After completing his university education, al Ibrahim founded ARA Productions and Television Studios (ARAvision) in Saudi Arabia. It was his first enterprise in media. 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.
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.
Middle East Broadcasting Company (MBC)
Al Ibrahim founded MBC in London in 1991 with another entrepreneur, Saleh Kamal, launching the first independent Arabic satellite TV station. 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. MBC is part of ARAvision. MBC acquired United Press International that was bankrupt at that time for $3.95 million in 1992 to bolster its news-gathering scope.
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 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.
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.
In 1990, the wealth of his brothers, Abdulaziz Al Ibrahim and Khalid Al Ibrahim, was reported to have been US$1.0 billion. It was argued that they made their wealth through being Boeing and Rolls-Royce representatives in Saudi deals. Their wealth was reported to have been US$1.2 billion in 1991. 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. They also invested in Orlando real estate.
Al Ibrahim has been awarded for his contributions in the field of Arab media. He was among top 20 prominent Gulf businessmen according to Amwal magazine in 2005. He was chosen to be the 27th most influential Arab among 100 Arab personalities by Arabian Business in 2007. He was named the 'Media Man of the Year' at the 4th MENA Cristal Awards held in Lebanon in 2008. He also received other awards, including the "Knight" award from the Arab League in 2006 and "Innovator of the Year" award from Arabian Business. He was chosen as the first among top 50 figures in MENA’s media, marketing and advertising industry in 2011. 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. Arabian Business named him as the world's 24th most influential Arab among 500 others in 2012.
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