My Zawya Story, 2nd Edition

In 2012, Zawya, a UAE-based business media company, was sold to Thomson Reuters for a 20 times cash return by Saffar, a low-profile private equity company. I am the founding chief executive of Saffar and became chairman of Zawya after we acquired it, between 2001 and 2011. This is my story of how I bought a bankrupt, London-based company with

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Letting Go for Sustainable Growth

Why do successful companies fail? One reason is an inability to let go of a successful product. Read that again – the issue is not about an inability to innovate but an inability to let go of successful products so as to allow newly developed superior ones to take their place. An example of how to do it right is

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Fox News: Manipulative not News

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Trump

Fox News is arguably the dominant news network in the United States. It is also quite possibly the most hated channel on Earth. Understanding that dichotomy also leads to some interesting business insights. Although Fox is often accused of reporting biased to the conservative side, it is clearly its political commentary that the anti-Fox crowd finds most objectionable. Studies have

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The Family Holding Company: More Than Just A Legal Structure

عربي With generational change increasing, the idea of institutionalising family businesses has gained wide spread acceptance. The magic formula seems to be create a holding company to hold the shares of the operating companies, a shareholder agreement, a terms of reference for the board and maybe add some independent directors to the board. Focussing on the holding company aspect, there

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The Value of Leverage

Leverage: oft misunderstood, intensely mistrusted, publicly reviled, privately coveted. Leverage: creator of wealth, cancer of markets, destroyer of nations. Or is it? Saying that leverage is bad is akin to saying that speed is bad. It is true in both cases that too much of either is dangerous. What is misunderstood is that too little of either is dangerous as

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Producing Second Hand Cars, Managing Your Mortgage, Educating Your Children and Saving the Planet

The business performance of car rental agencies was historically volatile. Part of this was simply due to the inability of car rental agencies to predict client behaviour. However, this did not explain all of the variance in their business performance. It was only as the rental companies began to realise that their business was not just to provide a service,

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Anthony Mallis, SICO

Anthony Mallis on Building SICO into a Regional Asset Manager

In the first of an occasional series titled Executive Insight I will write together with a regional business leader who shares the benefits of their experience. Anthony Mallis, the chief executive of Securities & Investment Company (SICO) of Bahrain between 2001 to 2014, grew a boutique brokerage company into a regional asset management powerhouse. (Tony is humble in his accomplishments and all

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