Prince Alwaleed: The Stockholder in the Sand

Worth an estimated $27 billion, the enigmatic Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has very public holdings: he is the second-largest voting shareholder in News Corp., he owns Paris’s George V hotel and part of New York City’s Plaza hotel, he is a major stockholder in Apple, and he will soon own the world’s tallest building. But the private origins—and exact size—of his massive fortune are the subject of continued debate between bin Talal and prominent media outlets. So what’s the truth? And does one of the richest men on Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index—a calorie-counting cell-phone addict who loves texting James Murdoch—really spend his free time throwing dwarves?

Prince Alwaleed at New York's Plaza hotel, of which he is part owner. Photo: Vanity Fair

Prince Alwaleed at New York’s Plaza hotel, of which he is part owner. Photo: Jonas Fredwall Karlsson