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Adebayo Ogunlesi: What to Know About the Nigerian Selling His Firm to BlackRock for $12.5 Billion

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm, announced on Friday that it will acquire Adebayo Ogunlesi’s Global Infrastructure Partners in a multibillion-dollar transaction.

Global Infrastructure Partners manages billions of dollars in assets and invests globally in infrastructure assets in the energy, transportation, water, and waste industries.

A statement by BlackRock said it would pay $3 billion in cash and offer Ogunlesi and five other co-founders of Global Infrastructure Partners 12 million shares in BlackRock, valued roughly $9.5 billion, making them the second largest investor in the global asset management company.

According to the agreement, Ogunlesi will be named to the BlackRock board of directors at the company’s next scheduled board meeting following the transaction’s closing. The transaction is likely to finalize in the third quarter of this year.

“The combination of GIP with BlackRock’s highly complementary infrastructure offerings creates a comprehensive global infrastructure franchise with differentiated origination and asset management capabilities,” the statement said.

The transaction between Ogunlesi and BlackRock has had the globe talking about him and his business ventures.

Here are five things to know about him:

1. His father is Nigeria’s first professor of medicine

He is a Nigerian from Ogun state. He is the son of Nigeria’s first professor of medicine, Theophilus Ogunlesi.

Ogunlesi was born in Nigeria 70 years ago, and he, like his father, was a gifted student who received three degrees from some of the world’s top colleges after graduating from King’s College in Lagos and moving to Britain in the 1970s. He earned his undergraduate degree at Oxford University, followed by law and MBA degrees from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, respectively.

2. He was the first non-American clerk for a U.S. Supreme Court judge

Ogunlesi began his career as the first non-American clerk for a United States Supreme Court judge before becoming a lawyer at the Cravath, Swaine & Moore law firm in New York. In 1983, he opted to enter the financial profession, beginning with Credit Suisse First Boston.

He worked there for 20 years in various capacities, notably as an adviser on a Nigerian gas project and, later, as chief client officer and executive vice chairman. He exited the financial industry to attempt something new.

3. He co-founded Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) in 2006

In 2006, he decided to start his own business and co-founded Global Infrastructure Partners with five other financial professionals. The corporation began in New York and bought London City Airport in its first year of existence, followed by Gatwick, the UK’s second busiest airport, before expanding to Edinburgh Airport in Scotland and Sydney Airport in Australia.

Global Infrastructure Partners also owns shares in the French corporation Suez, Vantage Tower, and ADNOC Gas Pipelines, a subsidiary of Emirati petroleum behemoth ADNOC.

4. He is a billionaire

Ogunlesi is one of the world’s billionaires. After the BlackRock and Global Infrastructure Partners transaction, his net worth is estimated to reach $2.3 billion.

5. He worked with Trump as his economic adviser

In 2016, US President-elect Donald Trump appointed Ogunlesi to his newly formed Strategic and Policy Forum.According to a release, Ogunlesi will join a group of 15 private sector business leaders to advise Trump on how to increase job creation and bring back jobs to the country.

“The forum is expected to advise the U.S. president on economic growth and employment creation, by fusing members’ business experience with public policy,” according to a press release.

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