Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia was named by Forbes as the word's 26th richest billionaire, with a fortune of $20 billion. He responded with outrage, claiming that his vast wealth had been underestimated by $9.6 billion, and vowing to sever all ties with the publication.
Forbes has defended its valuation. So what's going on?
ForbesThe row was revealed in the March copy of Forbes magazine, which had examined his wealth and disputed figures from the Prince. It said: "The value that the prince puts on his holdings at times feels like an alternate reality, including his publicly traded Kingdom Holding, which rises and falls based on factors that, coincidentally, seem more tied to the Forbes billionaires list than fundamentals."
The company is 95% owned by the Prince. Forbes cited the fact that in 2010 the company's shares rose 57% in the ten weeks prior to Forbes locking in values for that year's Billionaire's list. In 2011 it rose 31% over the same ten week period. And in 2012 the shares rose 136% over that period. It said that as a result, it used its own valuations for Kingdom Holdings for this year's list.
ResponseThe Prince has hit back, saying that his wealth was dramatically underestimated. The Prince's own valuations would put him in the top ten.
In a statement his private office said that the company has: "ended their long-standing relationship with the Forbes Billionaires List." He has requested his removal from the list, and said that it would no longer work with the publication's valuation teams.
It complained about: "The application of differing standards of proof for different individuals and organizations resulting in an arbitrary and confusing set of standards that seems demonstrably biased against the Middle East." It said that the stock value of other companies in other countries was taken as read - and said that applying a discount to his company was biased.
It added: "Kingdom Holding Company will continue to work with the Bloomberg Billionaires valuation teams."