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SBD Global/September 4, 2013/Franchises

Saudi Arabian Prince Abdullah Buys 50% Share In League One Sheffield United

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League One Sheffield United received a financial boost on Tuesday when Saudi Arabian Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud bought a 50% stake in the club and "promised fresh investment," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. The club named Prince Abdullah as the new investor, "adding that he was a grandson of the founder of Saudi Arabia," King Abdulaziz. He "will become co-chairman of the northern English club, nicknamed the Blades, with current owner Kevin McCabe" (REUTERS, 9/3). ARABIAN BUSINESS' Andy Sambidge wrote the club said that "he is a passionate football supporter and is former president of Al Hilal FC, the largest and most successful club in Saudi Arabia." He "is also chairman of Saudi Arabia's Football Privatisation Committee." Prince Abdullah "is a prominent Saudi businessman and industrialist." He is the founder and chairman of the publicly-listed Saudi Paper Manufacturing Group, "the largest paper tissue manufacturer in the Middle East" (ARABIAN BUSINESS, 9/3).

EXAMINING THE PORTFOLIO: The London DAILY MAIL reported "with three partners, Prince Abdullah started the Saudi Paper Manufacturing Company" in '89. In '06, as CEO, "he took the company public and suddenly was worth nine figures." From '02-04, "while still running Saudi Paper, the prince served as president of Saudi football club Al Hilal." An avid follower of both football and the NFL -- the 47-year-old supports the San Francisco 49ers -- "his portfolio of interests also include an Arabic sports talk radio station, fantasy sports leagues and various other domestic and international holdings." Prince Abdullah said, "I am delighted to invest in such a sensibly-organized, family and community club with a great history and heritage. ... However, money will be spent judiciously, and in any case we must comply with the Salary Cost Management Protocol" (DAILY MAIL, 9/3).

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