The Abu Dhabi ruling family may be set to continue its love affair with the English Premier League, as reports suggest that Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan is in talks to acquire club side Newcastle United. Although the deal is not yet finalised, supporters and rivals are speculating on what this means for the club and looking for clues from the background and track record of the rumoured owner-to-be. Drawing on its extensive knowledge banks and long experience of research in the Middle East and Africa, Diligencia explains all.
61-year-old Sheikh Khalid is a senior member of the UAE’s leading family, related to the current president of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa through his grandfather, Sheikh Saqr (he and the president’s grandfather were brothers). He is one of ten siblings and father of eight children (see Diagram 1). This makes him a second cousin of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, familiar to many followers of the game as the owner and key investor in Manchester City football club.
Known as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the Gulf, Khalid was educated in the US and went on to establish his family office Bin Zayed Group. The company was founded in 1995 and has over time diversified into various sectors including construction and real estate to financial services. He is also the chairman of Islamic Arab Insurance Company PSC (Salama) and the managing director of Gulf Testing Factory Services GTFS LLC. The diagram below shows all his known directorships and shareholdings within the UAE.
Not unusually for a member of the ruling family, Sheikh Khalid also helps to manage a number of State-owned entities and governmental organisations. As well as being a former member of the Executive Committee of Dubai Economic Council (DEC), he is a former board member of the Dubai Real-Estate Corporation (DREC, aka Wasl). Amongst other appointments, he also serves as the board chair of INJAZ Al-Arab and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).
When it comes to sport Sheikh Khalid sits on the board of the UAE Olympic Committee and is president of the UAE Sailing and Rowing Federation. Known to have a longstanding interest in buying an English club, he reportedly failed in an attempted takeover of Liverpool last year. We will have to wait and see whether he is successful this time…
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