Nigerian investor Adebayo Ogunlesi sells his firm to BlackRock for $12.5 billion

BY Preta Peace Namasaba January 15, 2024 4:34 AM EDT
Adebayo Ogunlesi. Photo Credit: Africa Interviews

Adebayo Ogunlesi, the chairman and CEO of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), is leading the firm’s $12.5 billion acquisition by investment behemoth BlackRock. The agreement involves a payment of $3 billion in cash and approximately 12 million shares.

GIP is a leading infrastructure investor that specializes in investing in, owning, and operating the largest and most complex assets across the energy, transport, digital infrastructure, and water and waste management sectors. The fund was co-founded in 2006 by Adebayo Ogunlesi with $500m each from General Electric and Credit Suisse. It grew quickly by buying crumbling assets in the energy, transport and water industries, fixing them and selling them for high profit margins.

Currently, GIP oversees a $100 billion portfolio and generates a collective annual revenue of $80 billion. It owns 40 companies, with a combined workforce of 115,000 people. Some of its notable assets include Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, Port of Brisbane, Port of Melbourne, Sydney Airport, and the Ruby Pipeline in the US. It also has a stake in Peel Ports and Hornsea 1, the project to build the world’s largest offshore windfarm in the North Sea.

BlackRock will pay $3 billion in cash and approximately 12 million of its shares, currently valued at around $9.5 billion. GIP’s direct employees will receive some of the stock. As part of the deal, five of the six founding partners, including Ogunlesi will join BlackRock.

The $12.5 billion takeover will make BlackRock the world’s second-largest infrastructure investor. The deal is also BlackRock’s largest transaction since its acquisition of Barclays Global Investors 15 years ago. BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager with $10 trillion in assets under management. The acquisition reflects the company’s strategy to invest in the $1 trillion infrastructure market.

Ogunlesi was born in Nigeria and studied at Oxford University and Harvard. He is the first non-American to serve as a law clerk in the US supreme court. Ogunlesi previously served as head of global investment banking and executive vice chairman and chief client officer at Credit Suisse.