Shahid Khan is the epitome of the rags to riches story. The Pakistan born billionaire is a business tycoon and owns Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL), the English Football League Championship team Fulham F.C., and automobile parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate in Urbana, Illinois. He has a current net worth of $8 billion and is the richest person of Pakistani origin. Shahid Khan had a really modest and humble beginning. Coming from a poor background, he had to struggle his way to the top. Let’s find out what the story is of Mr. Khan.
Shahid Khan was born in Lahore, Pakistan. He was born in a middle-class family that worked in the construction industry. He came to the United States when he was 16 years old, to study at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. The billionaire actually washed dishes for $1.20 an hour in his first job. Khan graduated with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering in 1971, and became a US citizen in 1991.
Having a humble beginning, Khan would have never imagined he would be able to build such a massive empire. He cashed in on opportunity and adapted to his surroundings. When he came to the US, he did not hide behind people similar to him. Instead he went out and explored, and hung around different people. He wanted to learn as much as he could about the American culture.
Bumper Works/Flex N Gate
While he was still in school, Khan began working at a small manufacturing company called Flex-N-Gate. He worked there until 1978 and then left to start his own company called Bumper Works. Khan acquired a loan from a small business administration, and his company starts developing bumpers that became an industry standard. He returned to Flex-N-Gate a short while later and bought the company.
Khan became the President and Owner of Flex-N-Gate and grew it to become the 14th largest North American auto-supply. After a major client dropped out, Khan cold-called companies like Mitsubishi in Japan, and got their business. Within a short time frame, all the vehicles coming in from Japan had Khan’s bumpers.
In 2008 during the economic downturn, the auto-industry took a significant hit. Khan saw this coming a year or two earlier, and prepared accordingly. He knew that in order to survive, cash had to be conserved. By 2009, all of the company’s competitors had shut down apart from one. Khan had successfully navigated through the recession storm.
As he grew up in the United States, Khan had become really fond of athletics and football especially. When the Rams were up for sale, Khan became really interested in it and even had a deal to buy it. However, that did not work out. At the last minute, Stan Kroenke, who owned 40 percent of the Rams, exercised his right to match Khan’s offer and bought the rest of the team himself. Khan was very upset and disappointed. It was then that he realized that ever since its inception, professional football had never had a non-white owner.
Khan was really fond of the NFL and saw football as a great sport. He also saw buying an NFL team as a great business opportunity. Therefore, he decided to continue looking for a team that he could buy in the NFL.
Soon, the opportunity to buy Jacksonville Jaguars came around. Shahid Khan knew owner Wayne Weaver since 4 years and had a good relationship with him. On November 29, 2011, Khan agreed to purchase the Jacksonville Jaguars from Wayne and his ownership group subject to NFL approval. The purchase price for 100% share in the Jaguars was estimated to have been $760 million. The deal made Khan the first member of an ethnic minority to own an NFL team.
In July 2013, Khan negotiated his second business sports purchase by buying the London soccer club Fulham. The deal was finalized on July 12, 2013, for around an estimated £150–200 million. He bought the team from Egyptian business tycoon, Mohamed Al-Fayed. Fulham Football Club currently plays in the second tier of English Football.
The story of Shahid Khan is a really inspiring one. It proves that if you have the determination and will to succeed, nothing can stop you. No matter what background or place you are originating from. Do you have an inspiring story to share? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, or email PACE Business.