Jho Low reveals the business behind the parties

By The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — The young Malaysian who has been making headlines around the globe for his partying ways has revealed he started managing millions at the age of 20 and now handles a US$1 billion (RM3.2 billion) fund.

Low Taek Jho told The Star in an exclusive interview published today that he took a semester off from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 to start an investment fund called The Wynton Group with US$25 million from his family and nine other investors made up of schoolmates from the Middle East.

“We started out with mainly portfolio investments around the world. Subsequently, we decided to move from just buying and selling public shares to private equity.

“As of today, Wynton’s investments stands at in excess of US$1 billion. When I started the company when I was still in university, I had a SOHO, home-office type concept. Subsequently, it was formalised and we had offices in Malaysia, Singapore and headquarters in the British Virgin Islands,” the Penang-born told The Star.

The Arab-speaking Low added that the group is now relocating its headquarters to Abu Dhabi.

“I have a lot of close friends and good contacts in Abu Dhabi. In particular, I am very good friends with His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, who is formerly the director of international relations at the Crown Prince’s court and he is currently the ambassador for UAE to [the] US and Mexico. Yousef is the son of Dr Mana Al Otaiba who is the first oil minister for the UAE.

“I think the great thing between Abu Dhabi and Malaysia is that they have really committed a lot to Malaysia and I think it is not only what we can see from the press on the G-to-G (government-to-government) level but even at the private business levels. There is a lot of trust from them with respect to local Malaysian companies operating in Abu Dhabi especially in the construction sector,” said the third son of Penang businessman Datuk Danny Low.

But Low remains on the board of UBG Berhad as group advisor and non-independent, non-executive director since 2008. He is also group advisor to several international corporations involved in global private equity, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), buy outs, government-to-government offset structured investments, and financing.