Business

The Saids and their dynamic private investment worlds

They aren’t directly related, but Fouad Said and Wafic Saïd have a number of things in common, they are both billionaires who came from the Middle East, and they and their offspring have created one of the most dynamic private investment ecosystems anywhere.

Fouad Said, an Egyptian American, has been hugely successful on two fronts. He won an Oscar for his invention of the mobile cinema studio, Cinemobile, and produced a number of Hollywood films and TV programs during the 1960s and 1970s. Fouad then went on to make a fortune – enough to set up a private investment office –  as an early investor in hedge funds and leveraged buyouts.

Much of Said and his family’s money is today channelled through a Geneva-based family office called Unifund, which also has offices in Hong Kong and New York. Dina Fouad Dwyer, believed to be Fouad’s wife, is a director at Unifund. Dina, a private equity specialist who has worked for Blackstone and Carlye, also heads a New York City-based private investment group called Eden Capital, which mostly does private equity-type deals.

Fouad’s two children – Adam and Suna – also have investment offices. Suna runs a private investment office in New York City called Nima Capital, which has done a lot of venture-type investing. Most recently, these include investing in a cryptocurrency called Ampleforth and blockchain payment platform called Celo.

Adam set up a private investment group called Ace & Company. Based in Geneva, Ace was incubated by Unifund, where Adam worked before setting up the private equity group in 2005. Since then, Ace has expanded rapidly, opening offices in London, Hong Kong, Cario, and New York.

It claims to have made cumulative profits of $151 million and Ace has certainly invested in a lot of businesses, according to its portfolio listings on its website and CrunchBase. Many of these investments have been startups, which have gone on to be successful businesses.

Wafic Saïd, who was born in Syria, made a substantial part of his billion-dollar-plus fortune in and connected to Saudi Arabia. His patronage to Oxford University led to the creation of the Saïd Business School, and he is a well-known figure in the UK and parts of the Middle East. Now based in Monaco, Saïd channels at least some of his investments through a Bermuda-based holding/investment office called Saïd Holdings Ltd, or SHL.

Wafic also set up a multi-family office called Sagitta Asset Management in 1995, which sold to competitor, Fleming Family & Partners, ten years later.

Wafic’s son, Khaled Said, established a multi-family office called Capital Generation Partners in 2007.  Based in Mayfair, London, CapGen is a classic MFO-type structure, offering clients, mostly ultra-high net worth individuals, advisory and discretionary portfolio options, and access to direct investment opportunities.

Wafic’s daughter,  Rasha Khawaja, also set up a venture group in 2000 called Toucan. London-based, Toucan has invested in restaurants, food-related businesses, and fashion investments.

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