Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim

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Waleed Al Ibrahim
Born Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim
Residence Riyadh
Nationality Saudi Arabian
Occupation Chairman of Middle East Broadcasting Company (MBC)
Years active 1991 – present
Net worth US$ 10.9 billion (2016)[1]

Waleed Al Ibrahim is a Saudi Arabian businessman and chairman of Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC). He is the first commercially successful TV channel owner in the Middle East.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Waleed Al Ibrahim was born and raised in Saudi Arabia.[3][4] He has eight brothers.[5] Two of his elder brothers, Abdulaziz and Khalid, are businessmen investing in real estate in the U.S..[6] One of Waleed Al Ibrahim's sisters, Al Jawhara Al Ibrahim, was one of the wives of the late King Fahd.[7][8] 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,[9] Khaled Al Angari.[10]

Al Ibrahim received education in the US during the 1980s[11] and completed his higher education there.[12]

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.[12] 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.[13]

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.[14]

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.[15] 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.[14] MBC is part of ARAvision.[13] MBC acquired United Press International that was bankrupt at that time for $3.95 million in 1992 to bolster its news-gathering scope.[16]

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[12][14] 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.[4]

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.[17]


In the 1990s Al Ibrahim was shareholder and board member of the United Press International (UPI).[18] He served as the chairman of the UPI board until the early 1999.[18]

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.[19] It was argued that they made their wealth through being Boeing and Rolls-Royce representatives in Saudi deals.[19] Their wealth was reported to have been US$1.2 billion in 1991.[6] 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.[6] They also invested in Orlando real estate.[20]


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.[21] He was among top 20 prominent Gulf businessmen according to Amwal magazine in 2005.[22] He was chosen to be the 27th most influential Arab among 100 Arab personalities by Arabian Business in 2007.[23] He was named the 'Media Man of the Year' at the 4th MENA Cristal Awards held in Lebanon in 2008.[24] He also received other awards, including the "Knight" award from the Arab League in 2006 and "Innovator of the Year" award from Arabian Business.[24][25] He was chosen as the first among top 50 figures in MENA’s media, marketing and advertising industry in 2011.[26] 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.[27] Arabian Business named him as the world's 24th most influential Arab among 500 others in 2012.[28]


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".[29]

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).[30]


  1. ^ a b "Top 50 richest Arabs". Emica Investments. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim". Global Competitiveness Forum. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "GCC's Most Admired Executives 2009". Arabian Business. 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Samantha M. Saphiro (2 January 2005). "The war inside the Arab newsroom". The New Yorker. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  5. ^ David Pallister; Richard Norton-Taylor; Owen Bowcott (7 February 1998). "Rolls Royce in firing line on Saudi deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "The Billionaires 1991". Fortune. 9 September 1991. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Shaykh Mohammed bin Zayed On Al Arabiya". Wikileaks. 17 December 2003. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Anna O'Leary (17 January 2012). "The Al Saud runs the country as a family fiefdom". Salem. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "HH Princess Al Jawhara bint Ibrahim". King Abdulaziz University. 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  10. ^ Baria Alamuddin (7 May 2004). "Princess Al Jawhara Ibrahim Al Ibrahim in her first interview". Ain Al Yaqeen (reported from al Hayat). Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  11. ^ Kai Ryssdal. "A talk with Middle East media mogul". Marketplace. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c "Sheikh Waleed al Ibrahim". Arabian Business. May 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Mamoun Fandy (January 1999). "Saudi Opposition between Globalization and Localization". Comparative Studies in Society and History. 41 (1): 124–147. JSTOR 179251. doi:10.1017/s0010417599001899. 
  14. ^ a b c Naomi Sakr (2001). "Whys and wherefores of satellite channel ownership". Satellite Realms: Transnational Television, Globalization and the Middle East. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  15. ^ "The money factories: the making of the new media barons". Video Age International. 1 October 1996. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Youssef M. Ibrahim (29 June 1992). "Saudis Pursue Media Acquisitions, Gaining Influence in the Arab World". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  17. ^ "Ideological and Ownership Trends in the Saudi Media". Cablegate. 11 May 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  18. ^ a b Allan Wolper (24 April 1999). "UPI Looks for Way out of Massive Debt". Editor & Publisher: 8. Retrieved 1 September 2013.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  19. ^ a b "The billionaires 1990". CNN/Fortune. 10 September 1990. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  20. ^ Steve Coll (31 March 2008). "We all worship the same God October 1984 to February 1985". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  21. ^ "Q&A with MBC Chairman Al Waleed al Ibrahim". Asharq Alawsat. 8 February 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  22. ^ Abdul Ghafour, P.K. (4 November 2005). "Saudis Top List of 20 Prominent Gulf Businessmen". Arab News. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  23. ^ "100 most powerful Arabs 2007". Arabian Business. 18 March 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  24. ^ a b "MBC Group Chairman Media Man of the Year". Ame Info. 17 February 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  25. ^ "Q & A with Arab Media Mogul Waleed Al Ibrahim". Asharq Alawsat. 23 November 2006. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  26. ^ "The 50 most powerful people in media, marketing and advertising in MENA". Albawaba. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  27. ^ "Top 100 world most influential Arabs". Dubai Chronicle. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  28. ^ "Walid Al Ibrahim". Arabian Business. 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  29. ^ http://www.alarabiya.net/ar/last-page/2016/05/11/%D9%85%D9%84%D9%83-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%86-%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86%D8%AD-%D9%88%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%AF-%D8%A2%D9%84-%D8%A5%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%87%D9%8A%D9%85-%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%84.html
  30. ^ "First Advisory Board Meeting of The Mohammed bin Rashid School for Communication At AUD". American University in Dubai. 15 March 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2012.