Prince Alwaleed: Kind Of Obsessed With Warren Buffett?

According to the cover story of Bloomberg Markets Magazine’s Junes issue, entitled “Buffett and the Prince,” yes. Before we get into all that, however, just take a moment to appreciate the setting in which this interview took place:

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal sits under an almost full moon near a campfire at his rustic retreat in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He’s surrounded by a zoo with zebras and giraffes, an artificial lake and a lodge that has an indoor pool, saunas and steam rooms. Three hooded falcons are perched on stands in front of him. Five young women, dressed in black miniskirts and jackets and orange knee-high boots that match their nail polish, serve clove-and-cardamom tea to Alwaleed and his entourage.

Now, the Prince and his infatuation. Is it so much an obsession with the Oracle of O as it is one with simply being as rich as him? Obviously that’s part of it, though with a net worth of $16.6 billion, his highness has a bit of catching up to do to Buffett’s $48.7 billion (a disparity Big Al is not sweating. “When he was my age, he was not as big as me,” Alwaleed says. “I still have 20 years.”) And former aides say “being the best, being the wealthiest is what motivates [the Prince], whose preoccupation with his status and wealth is on display at Kingdom Holding’s headquarters, where bookshelves display reprints of magazine articles about his ranking on billionaire lists. After rankings are published, he sometimes issues a press release touting his position.” But there’s more than just a “I would like to have a few more billions in my name” thing going on than a serious “I want to be Warren Buffett, I want to posses Warren Buffett, if I can’t have Warren Buffett no one can” vibe emanating from Alwaleed. First off, he refers to himself as “the Buffett of Arabia.” And he takes pains to prove to reporters that he and Buffs are basically two bodies, one soul, as indicated by similarities such as the fact that they both use filing cabinets and they both wear pants (sometimes).

As the prince rides in his GMC truck around the site of his Kingdom City residential development, he once again draws comparisons between himself and Buffett: The prince says they both buy undervalued assets. The offices of Kingdom Holdings and Berkshire Hathaway have roughly the same square footage, and both companies have small staffs at their headquarters. “I drink Pepsi; he drinks Coke,” Alwaleed says, with a laugh [as if to imply, this is the literally the only thing preventing the two of us from being twins].

Most significantly, Alwaleed “has hired a mostly female staff at his office, creating workplaces rarely seen in Saudi Arabia, where women must wear neck-to-toe robes to mask their figures in public. The women Alwaleed empoys derss in Western clothing and hold jobs managing his construction projects, piloting his jets and directing catering at his palace.” This is of course admirable, but given the Buffett obsession, seems more like an attempt to follow in the master’s footsteps, by (very slowly) turning his office into a Russ Meyers set, as is the practice at Berkshire HQ.

To Alwaleed’s credit, this is all not entirely without encouragement from WB. The two have have been trading letters (by mail and fax, natch) on and off for about nine years, and the pen pal thing was initiated by Buffett, who sent the Prince a note in May 1999 after staying at the Plaza (at the time 42% owned by PA), telling him how great the service was. “You have restored the Plaza to its former luster– indeed your managers have enabled it to surpass its previous heights– and I congratulate you,” Buffett wrote, forcing one to only assume that the nightly turndowns included HJ’s.

The prince responded a month later, saying he was elated to have an individual of such discriminating tastes attest to the Plaza’s high standards. Alwaleed then got down to business. “Needless to say, I should be pleased to consider participating in any of your future investments that you may deem pertinent,” the prince wrote. Buffett, who grew rich by investing in consumer brands such as American Express Co. and Coca-Cola Co., wrote back three days later. He said he would be delighted to team up with the prince. He also piled on the praise. “In Omaha, I’m known as the ‘Alwaleed of America’—which is quite a compliment,” Buffett wrote. In December 1999, Alwaleed told Buffett in a letter that he found news coverage of a slump in Berkshire’s stock “highly objectionable” and had written to editors to defend him.

Which, whoa there Single White Female! When the two finally met face to face, at Microsoft’s CEO summit in 2008, “a beaming Alwaleed posed with Buffett for a photo taken by the prince’s personal photographer. Buffett hammed it up for the camera, handing his black wallet to the prince as the flash went off.”

Now– and I say this not to be cruel but merely to give the prince all the necessary information he needs to make an informed decision that maybe the intense feelings he has for WB aren’t as mutual as he thinks, and that perhaps the Oracle is just being nice– BUFFETT DOES THIS WITH EVERYONE, GIRL! Literally, it is his go-to move. Here are just a couple examples:

He does it with chicks.

He does it with other guys.

He does it with complete strangers he’s met only 5 minutes prior. There’s more evidence available, but I think the point is made. WB probably thinks you’re great, P, but you may not be special to him in the way you think you are. Now that you have this info, please, don’t do anything crazy. Keying his car will only feel good in the moment. Don’t be the psycho-bitch. You’re better than that. Console yourself with a harem of girls in orange boots. Or call Vikram, he’ll get you through this.

(hidden for your protection)
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29 Responses to “Prince Alwaleed: Kind Of Obsessed With Warren Buffett?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    أشعر بذلك خيانة

  2. Anonymous says:

    he also “stops short”

    ~Becky Q.

  3. Anonymous says:

    He shouldn’t be the “Buffett of Arabia”. He should be the “Low-rents of Omaha”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “hooded falcon” — that’s slang for an uncircumcised penis, right?

  5. Anonymous says:

    “orange knee-high boots”

    talk about burying the lede

  6. Bess Levin says:

    @4 yeah I think so.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I heard the Prince is going to get a full body tattoo of Warren Buffet

  8. Mr. Buffet,

    You’ve tempted me with oreo blizzards. You’ve offered $300/hour with Becky (not a bad deal, actsh). You flew me to Omaha, where we camped in your back yard and read Goosebumps together. With a flashlight. You took me to that really good dermatologist in midtown to examine The Mole.

    These are all very, very nice things. But now. Here we are. Now this? You treat me like an everday whore, you fool. “Grab my wallet” tee hee hee. Ha ha ha. Right? Let the good times roll?

    Your off-white riding coverall shall be burned this evening, at a quarter to midnight.

    Bin’nt himaar.


    Prince of Men

  9. Bess Levin says:

    @5 actually I threw it out there front and center…?

    @8 you made me laugh.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I liked his alter ego better – Father Guido Sarduchi

  11. Maybe Warren can “deem” his Moody’s stock holdings to be “pertinent” and sell them to the prince.

  12. Bess, did it cross your mind that it might not have been a gentle exchange of HJs but rather a full-fledged double Dutch rudder complemented by hooded falcons galore?

  13. 9/Bethany,

    Can you fly a plane or use a palm branch to fan people of great importance?


    Prince of Men

  14. OptionTrader says:

    Lol @8 for Goosebumps reference and link.

    In other news, I heard PetroChina CEO Jeimen Jiang sucked off Hugo Chavez then ate his asshole out with the lubed-up blood of 10 Orange County Wives.

  15. Bess Levin says:

    @12 that’s housekeeping.

  16. Can we get a “Putting Women to Work” tag on this post? Just for cataloging purposes?


    Citi Compliance

  17. Anonymous says:

    @16, on that note, has anyone checked Citi’s blog lately?

  18. Anonymous says:

    The Prince has lost more money than Warren Buffett al Omaha has made in his life time. In fact, he never made a dollar, he inherited it all.

  19. Anonymous says:

    How old is the rubber in Warren’s wallet?

  20. Anonymous says:

    @19 – the image of his wallet having the rubber ring visible on the outside made me laugh. I laugh!

  21. Anonymous says:

    (Interior scene: Dairy Queen on Douglas Blvd in Omaha.)

    Prince: “So, you, of all who knows that which it is all about, you lead me here to reveal the mystic ways of investing the Buffett way??”

    Buffett: (drinking Cherry Coke from a paper cup) “Slurp…..slllluuuuurrrrpppp….slurp..slurp…”

    Prince: “There are simple people here, citizens of your fly-over city, some of whom have not seen a salad bar in many years it would seem….”

    Buffett: (Arching eyebrows furiously…) “Slurp….sssssllllllluuuuuuurrrrrrpppppp….slurp…slurpity……..

    Prince: (leaning overto Buffett) “So answer me the mystery of the riddle you posed earlier. You said “How did the Dairy Queen become pregnant?” And from that riddle, will I achieve the path to enlightenment which may or may not be in Sarpy County near the Runza franchise??? Oh please tell me dear Warren, oh Oracle of Omaha…How did the Dairy Queen become pregnant?? I must know. The falcon of knowledge must perch on the leathered arm of my experiences…!!”

    Buffett: (Stops slurping on the Cherry Coke, leans toward the prince and states), “Burger King gave her the Whopper!!”

  22. CoveredLong says:

    Prince: I made you a painting. I call it “Celebration.” It’s sexual and violent. I thought you might like it.

  23. anon says:

    Not you, fat jesus.

  24. Borat says:

    My moustache still tastes of your testes!

  25. Heru says:

    We recognized a long time ago that we want to treavl while we still can. We try to go on at least one major trip (overseas) every other year. Every year, we treavl to New York, and this year was New Orleans.

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