BlackRock, the biggest asset management company in the world, has said it is buying Global Infrastructure Partners, a company founded by Nigerian investment banker, Adebayo Ogunlesi, in a $12.5bn deal.
According to a report by Arbiterz, Blackrock is to pay $3bn in cash and offer Ogunlesi and five other co-founders of Global Infrastructure Partners 12 million shares in Blackrock, thus making them the second biggest shareholders in the global asset management giant.
Global Infrastructure Partners has $106bn invested in infrastructure, while Blackrock manages $10tn worth of alternative assets.
Ogunlesi, an alumnus of King’s College Lagos and Harvard University, was chief client officer and vice chairman at Credit Suisse First Boston before leaving to start Global Infrastructure Partners.
His profile grew in Nigeria after Global Infrastructure Partners bought Gatwick Airport. The main assets of GIP, of which Ogunlesi is chairman, include Sydney, the Port of Melbourne, the Suez Water group, extensive green energy holdings, and a stake in a big shale oil pipeline.
Investment in infrastructure is considered an “alternative asset” class for traditional money managers like BlackRock. The deal makes Blackrock the second biggest private investor and manager of infrastructure in the world.
Ogunlesi says that some of the cash and shares will be distributed to Global Infrastructure Partners’ 400 employees.
Ogunlesi’s exploits in the world of global private infrastructure management often provoke a discussion about Nigeria’s economically ruinous infrastructure deficit and his native country’s lack of policies and incentives to tap into the deals-hungry world of private infrastructure investment.
Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Infrastructure and the Nigerian Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, the vast bureaucracy in charge of private investment in infrastructure have not done a major successful deal in more than 10 years.