Image by B.alotaby, from Wikimedia Commons.  Accessed 05.06.2018

 

Alwaleed bin Talal’s recent sale of a 5.7% stake in Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts continues his trend of divesting from the hospitality sector in 2018. It also draws attention to Alwaleed’s activities following his release from detention in February this year. Today’s analysis looks at Saudi’s ‘prince of commerce’, highlighting how he navigates between domestic business and politics to varying degrees of success.

Key Points

  • At risk of being too commercial for the political world and too political for the commercial world, Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud exists somewhere between these classifications.
  • On one hand, he enjoys access to the royal court as a nephew of the King and cousin of the Crown Prince; amassing more political contacts than some acting ministers in government. At the same time, he sits atop a U.S. $17 billion empire – making him one of the country’s most significant commercial players.
  • As the shake-up in Riyadh continues, Alwaleed looks set to remain a favourite of the government. However, there are constraints around what he can and cannot do – demonstrating his vulnerability at the hands of MbS & Co. and encapsulating how the new order is unafraid to target old faces.