The members of the Saad family are the main owners of Bandeirantes Group, formed by several communication enterprises amongst which Rádio e Televisão Bandeirantes Ltda. (‘Bandeirantes Radio and TV inc.’), owner of Band National Television Network, the fourth with highest ratings in Brazil. The Saad family owns yet another Free TV channel (Canal 21) and six cable TV channels, including BandNews, the news channel that competes with Marinho Family’s GloboNews, and with the first allnews Free TV in the country, Edir and Ester Macedo’s RecordNews. Band International Channel is present in the US, in Angola and in Paraguay. The second most important media sector for the Saad Family is Radio: they own three national Networks (Band FM, Bandeirantes e BandNews) and a regional one (Nativa FM), besides nine other stations, one of them based in Orlando (USA). The Group also has two printed newspapers – one of them being Metro, a high circulation free distribution newspaper -, an internet portal, companies of out of home media, image commercialization and content distribution, as well as a Cable TV, internet and telephone services provider.
The main name in the family is João Carlos Saad, known as “Johnny Saad”, son of the Group’s founder, João Jorge Saad, a trader of Lebanese descent who obtained his first Radio concession from the hands of his father-in-law, then governor of São Paulo, Adhemar de Barros (PRP/PSP), in 1948, and who passed away in 1999, leaving his five children with one of the biggest broadcasting conglomerates in Brazil. Johnny always worked on his father’s business. He started at Bandeirantes Radio, graduated in Business Administration at Universidade de São Paulo (USP) and today is the president of the Bandeirantes Group. Managing the Group’s enterprises, he diversified business, investing mainly on Cable TV Channels, and on Digital Media and out-of-home companies. Johnny is the founder of Associação Brasileira de Radiodifusores (‘Brazilian Bradcasting Association’ - ABRA), whose headquarters is located in a building named after him, in Brasília (DF). ABRA was founded in 2004 to defend the interests of Band, SBT and Record TV, in opposition to the interests of Globo Network, the leader in ratings in Brazil. In 2015, however, he resumed his collaboration with ABERT (‘Brazilian Radio and TV Association’), lead by Globo, to defend the interests of broadcasters associated to the suspension o analogical TV signal and the migration of AM Radios to FM. Johnny is married and has two children. Just like his father, he also has investments in farms and properties.
While still alive, João Jorge Saad and Maria Helena Mendes de Barros Saad transferred part of the Group’s companies to their five children: besides Johnny Saad, Maria Leonor de Barros Saad, Márica de Barros Saad, Marisa de Barros Saad and Ricardo de Barros Saad. But the company’s main property is still in dispute. Its inventory has at least two problems. The first is a lawsuit by João Jorge’s second wife, Andrée Gabrielle de Ridder, who works at the company and claims 50% of the patrimony. The second is the dispute between the siblings, who accuse Johnny of getting the biggest slice of the cake and trying to pass part of the companies to other partners, outside of the family. Out of the five siblings, only Maria, who is a veterinarian, does not work in the Group.
Other names in the family who hold property and positions in the company are the cousins Paulo Saad Jafet and Silvia Saad Jafet. Paulo and Silvia descend from two Lebanese immigrants families, the Saad Family, of Bandeirantes Group founder, and the Jafet Family, that owned important industries in São Paulo in the first half of the 20th and was one of the founders of the Sírio Libanês Hospital. Paulo is the vice-president of Cable TV Channels and is responsible for the Bandeirantes Group’s New Business sector since 2016, besides being a partner in some of the Group’s companies. Silvia is the Development Director of bandeirantes Group and also a partner in companies under the Band brand.
In 2015, the names of Silvia Saad Jafet and of other executives of Bandeirantes Group - João Jorge Saad (1919-1999), Maria Helena Saad Barros (1928-1996) e Ricardo Saad – were published by journalist Fernando Rodrigues (UOL/Folha de S. Paulo) and by the O Globo Newspaper on the list of journalists, owners, directores and inheritors of communication vehicles that integrate the list of 8.667 Brazilians who, in 2006 and 2007, had numbered accounts in HSBC Switzerland (See O Globo Group and Folha Group Profiles). The list, known as Swissleaks, was published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (www.icij.org). The existence of accounts in Switzerland is not itself a crime, but the IRS would investigate if these accounts were declared or if there was tax evasion. The accounts of Saad Family members were zeroed at time. When approached by journalist Fernando Rodrigues, Silvia and Ricardo did not want to make any statements.
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The Saad family also owns real estate in the city of São Paulo. In 2013, it was revealed that Johnny Saad threatened the Mayor Fernando Haddad (PT) to keep on the “media attack” because of the IPTU increase in the richer neighborhoods promoted by the city hall (2013-2016). During the same period, it was revealed that Johnny managed a 25-year exclusive contract with the previous mayor (2009-2012), Gilberto Kassab (DEM/PSD) to exploit the advertising of all São Paulo bus stops.