AL-FAYED’S FAREWELL: First, there was Harrods, now it’s London’s Fulham Football Club: Mohamed Al-Fayed is slowly divesting of his long-held properties in a bid to spend more time with his family, he said. The tycoon confirmed over the weekend that he has sold the soccer team to the U.S. automotive billionaire Shahid Khan, owner of the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Al-Fayed had owned Fulham for 16 years.
“My time of serving as the custodian of Fulham Football Club would one day come to an end, and I feel that time has now arrived,” Al-Fayed said on the club’s Web site. “The time is right because I have found a very good man in Shahid Khan to accept the responsibility and privilege that I have enjoyed at Fulham since 1997. Fulham will be in very good hands with Shahid, whose success in business and passion for sport is very evident.”
This story first appeared in the July 15, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
On his personal Web site, Al-Fayed said it was time for him “to retire and spend time playing football [soccer] with my grandchildren.” Khan has purchased 100 percent of the club. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.
In April, Al-Fayed squelched speculation in France that he had sold his Paris jewel, the Ritz hotel, to Qatari investors. At the time, a spokesman for the Ritz said the hotel was not for sale.
In 2010, Al-Fayed ended his 25-year rein at Harrods by selling the landmark British retailer to Qatar Holding, an investment company linked to the royal family of the Gulf state, for 1.5 billion pounds, or $2.27 billion at current exchange, including about 600 million pounds, or $906 million, in property-backed debt.