The Planet Hollywood restaurant chain will soon open a branch in Riyadh, marking the first-time introduction of theme dining into the Saudi kingdom. According to KSAToday daily, the new branch is expected to open in the Kingdom Trade Center this coming September.
The initiator of the deal is King Fahd’s billionaire nephew, Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud. The Kingdom Trade Center project is also the brainchild of Prince Al-Waleed. A subsidiary of the prince’s Kingdom Holding Company, the center will operate 300,000 square-meters of build-up area.
In April 1997, the prince and Planet Hollywood signed a strategic contract providing for the Saudi billionaire to build 34 restaurants in 23 countries. According to the Forbes magazine, the prince became a major investor in the celebrity-powered restaurant chain, paying $37 million for five percent of the stock and $9.5 million for franchise rights in seven cities.
In 1999, as Planet Hollywood began to loose ground, Al-Waleed upped his stake in the company to 16.8 percent. Last December and January he sold most of the remaining half of that stake, only to invest a further $10 million, just five months later, in a 20 percent share in the bankruptcy-reorganized company.
Planet Hollywood, a Florida-based chain of glitzy memorabilia-packed restaurants, recently opened four new branches. The first Planet Hollywood was launched in New York in October 1991. Since then, restaurants opened in over 80 locations, including London, Sydney, Honolulu, Rome, New Orleans, Zurich, Toronto, Beirut and Amman. ― (MENA Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )