Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia filed a lawsuit against Forbes Magazine in connection with the March issue of the publication, which underestimated his wealth by $9.6 billion. The publication also quoted an unidentified analyst as saying that the Saudi Tadawul Exchange is “incredibly easy to manipulate.”
Prince Alwaleed accused Forbes Magazine of “intentional biases and inconsistencies” in its report, and pointed out that the actual value of his fortune is almost $30 billion. The publication estimated that the Prince’s wealth is approximately $20 billion.
In March, the Prince’s Kingdom Holding stated, ““We have worked very openly with the Forbes team over the years and have on multiple occasions pointed out problems with their methodology that need correction. However, after several years of our efforts to correct mistakes falling on deaf ears, we have decided that Forbes has no intention of improving the accuracy of their valuation of our holdings and we have made the decision to move on. KHC puts a premium on tracking the true value of our investments and it is contrary to both our practice and nature to assist in the publication of financial information we know to be false and inaccurate.”
Prince Alwaleed Has Decided To Sue Forbes
The Saudi Arabian Prince named Forbes editor Randall Lane and two of its journalists in the defamation lawsuit, which was filed in the high court in London.
A report from UPI.com quoted a statement from the publication regarding Prince Alwaleed’s allegations. Forbes said, “We’re very surprised at claims that Prince Alwaleed has decided to sue Forbes, particularly if he has done so in the United Kingdom, a jurisdiction that has nothing whatsoever to do with our recent story which raised questions about his claims about his wealth.”
“The Prince’s suit would be precisely the kind of libel tourism that the U.K.’s recently passed libel reform law is intended to thwart. We would anticipate that the London high court will agree. Forbes stands by its story,” added Forbes.
Forbes estimated that the actual value of Kingdom Holding, the investment firm majority owned by Prince Alwaleed, is much lower than what its share price suggests. The Prince owns 95 percent of the investment firm and the remaining 5 percent is floated on Saudi Tadawul Exchange.
In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph in March, the Prince said Forbes was “accusing me of market manipulation.” He added, “This is all wrong and a false statement. We will fight it all the way against Forbes.”
Furthermore, Prince Alwaleed emphasized that he is pursuing the case not because of his wealth, but “because they are accusing Saudi Arabia of being manipulated because we have no casinos. This is unacceptable.”
Moreover, the Prince also said that banks, businessmen, and the media in Saudi Arabia are on their side. He pointed out, “Saudi Arabia is a not a small country and respectable. Saudi Arabia is a G20 country. This is very insulting for Saudi Arabia. To take the market capitalization of Kingdom Holding and cut it in half can’t be accepted at all.”
Prince Alwaleed accumulated his fortune from his investments in global brands. He owns significant stakes in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), the Savoy Hotel and Songbird Estates plc (LON:SBD) in London.