The Business On... Mohamed al Fayed, Owner of Fulham Football Club


Didn't he use to own a rather famous shop?

That's right. Mohamed al Fayed is the former owner of the department store Harrods. He sold the business for £1.5bn to Qatar Holdings, the sovereign wealth fund, in May last year. You may also recall his son Dodi was tragically killed in a car crash with Princess Diana in 1997.



I thought he'd retired from corporate life to focus on Fulham?

Given the reaction to the statue of Michael Jackson that Al Fayed unveiled at the football ground earlier this month, some fans may hope not. And they could be in luck after it emerged yesterday he has made a takeover approach for Pinewood Shepperton film studios.



So is this a bid to get a role in the next Bond film?

Pinewood are the studios behind Bond, but it seems unlikely. Al Fayed has reportedly told friends that the studio owner is a British monument which needs investment in new technology to restore what he calls its glory days.



Why the sudden interest?

Pinewood Studios announced on8 April that it had received an offer to buy the company at 190p a share, putting the business, as they say, "in play". Yesterday it said it had received a further approach from an "unconnected third party", which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company.



Is Al Fayed the third party?

Yes, although al-Fayed has not made a formal bid yet. Peel Holdings, the property company run bythe billionaire John Whittaker and Pinewood's biggest shareholder, is the other potential bidder who emerged on 8 April.



Al Fayed still has plenty of drive, then?

It would seem so – and don't underestimate the 78-year-old, who began his first business scheme at school selling lemonade to his mates.



Blimey, he's come a long way

Yes, but he is not the modest type. He had a wax statue of himself constructed for him at Harrods during his time at the store.

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