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Mohamed Al Fayed and family
Retailing
Rank 2017
73=
Worth
£1,700m
Rise/fall
-

The landmark Ritz Paris hotel reopened last June after £200m worth of renovations, a fire on its top floor delaying the big day by three months. Owned by al-Fayed, the 119-year-old hotel had been closed since 2012 and is perhaps the last remaining crown jewel in his empire. The son of a schoolteacher, he was born in Egypt and began his working life selling drinks in the street, later becoming a sewing machine salesman. His big break came when he launched his own shipping business and became an adviser to the Sultan of Brunei, one of the world’s richest men.
   Fayed sold the Knightsbridge department store Harrods in 2010 for £1.5bn to Qatari Holdings, an offshoot of the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund. He pocketed £900m from the deal after borrowings. Three years later he sold Fulham football club to an American entrepreneur, the deal valuing the operation at up to £200m. Known to Fulham fans as “Chairman Mo”, Fayed had pockets deep enough to sustain the club after his £6.25m takeover in 1997, spending £200m on the London team over the years.
   In Scotland he is known as “Mohamed of the Glen” and often wears a kilt on his 65,000-acre Balnagown estate, which produces its own whisky. The family received at least £368m in dividends from Harrods since he bought it in 1985. Fayed paid just £10m for the Ritz in 1979 and given the huge premium now on luxury hotels, it should be worth £500m. We keep Fayed, 88, at £1.7bn after taking account of higher-than-expected refurbishment costs.