Abrupt Death of Billionaire leaves Dubai officials to sought out Messy Inheritance

In a unique corner of Dubai, a modern-day palace with moorish architecture and an imposing entrance rises from the desert, arousing uncertainty over who will live there.

In a unique corner of Dubai, a modern-day palace with moorish architecture and an imposing entrance rises from the desert, arousing uncertainty over who will live there.

As several workers rush over the sprawling lot adjoining the fine land of Al Mamzar beach, local authorities are excruciating over the palace and the rest of the estate of Majid Al Futtaim, the patriarch of shopping and entertainment who died was an anchor of Dubai’s economy.


Family-owned businesses have been influential in developing emirates. A messy succession plan risks disruption and distraction just as the area looks to expand its economy away from a reliance on oil.

An associate fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, Christopher Davidson, said, “With so many other prominent family-owned partnerships in Dubai, the stakes are too high to let such succession conflicts bubble over.”

The inheritance of Al Futtaim was left unresolved when the octogenarian died last year in December. While the mansion was considered a residence for him and his third wife, the estate’s centrepiece is Majid Al Futtaim Holding.

Around $16.5 billion in assets is managed by the company, including a well-known indoor ski hall, the Carrefour hypermarket franchise in the Middle East and the affluent Mall of the Emirates.

It has activities in almost 17 countries, extending itself to Africa. Investors also hold $3.7 billion in corporate deficit.

MAF is now changing to multiple owners, and that process could apply the groundwork for more sweeping changes, as per the people related to the discussions.


The option is selling parts of the group, an investment by a sovereign wealth fund, as well as a public listing, said the people, who asked to keep their identity hidden because the discussions are personal. They said no talks are taken yet.

The process will take some time because the family and the company aspire to avoid disruption. The emirate looks to maintain its reputation as a relatively safe haven amidst the geopolitical disruption caused by the war in Ukraine.

To overcome any potential disputes, Dubai’s leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum appointed a special judicial committee, a relatively rare happening that will be committed for only high-profile cases.

The committee is led by Essa Kazim, chairman of the group that operates Dubai’s stock exchange.

Ten people, including his three wives, six daughters and one son, have claims on the estate, which was expected to be worth $6.1 billion at the time of the death of Al Futtaim.

The stakes in MAF have been discussed and registered, as well as a shareholder meeting is also being conducted for nine family members after the deceased’s wife from Abu Dhabi transferred her share to her daughters.

Apart from Tariq Al Futtaim, the only surviving son and a board member since 2011, none of the inheritors has played a role in the group.

“The company will resume running as it has been running,” said Habib Al Mulla, the lawyer for Tariq and his family, adding that Tariq’s objective is to remain a board member. “It had one owner, and now it has nine owners.”

Much work is being done on cataloguing, evaluating, and distributing Al Futtaim’s assets, such as aeroplanes and boats in different locations. All told, the legacy talks are likely to take at least a year, according to Al Mulla.

MAF, which professional managers have run for years, said it has “a clear and wide plan for sustaining normal operations” and pursuing its expansion strategy. It added that no decisions had been taken on any forthcoming listing or stake sales.

Tariq Saeed


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Read More

Najah returns to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in October 2022

The 16th edition of Najah, UAE's higher education fair, is returning to two emirates this year. Najah Abu Dhabi will be inaugurated from 16 to October 18, whereas Najah Dubai will occur from October 23 to 25.

Dubai Prince Fazza stuns fans after going unnoticed in London Tube

The Crown Prince of Dubai-United Arab Emirates, Fazza, a.k.a Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, is on holiday in London with his family and friends. He has shared a glimpse of his trip. In one of the pictures, he is seen riding with his friend, which is becoming viral online.

SAV is first Emirati female-led savings company

Dubai: Dubai witnessed the launch of the pilot program "SAV" for the first financial company in the UAE, led by women, centered around savings.


Iraqi PM inaugurates Air Force Academy

Prime Minister of Iraq Mohammed S. Al-Sudani, who is also The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, inaugurated the Air Force Academy at Al-Suwaira Base...

Next session of World Gov Summit to be held from 13-15 February 2023

The next session of the World Government Summit will take place from 13-15 February 2023, as per the recent announcement made by the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai - Sheikh Mohammed. 

Dubai prepares for spectacular New Year’s eve extravaganza with dazzling fireworks and star-studded performances

Dubai is no stranger to grandeur, and this New Year's Eve will be no exception. Eight locations across the emirate will light up the night sky with stunning fireworks displays at the stroke of midnight