Home » Nigerian banker Adebayo Ogunlesi emerges as Africa’s newest billionaire

Nigerian banker Adebayo Ogunlesi emerges as Africa’s newest billionaire

From Credit Suisse to Africa's top 20 billionaires

by Omokolade Ajayi
Adebayo Ogunlesi

Adebayo Ogunlesi, the 70-year-old Nigerian banker and founder of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), has catapulted into the ranks of Africa’s billionaires with an estimated fortune of $2.3 billion, following a groundbreaking $12.5-billion deal with BlackRock, Inc.

Bloomberg’s recent update revealed the substantial surge in Ogunlesi’s net worth after BlackRock, led by U.S. billionaire Larry Fink, finalized a historic agreement to acquire GIP.

The deal, consisting of $3 billion in cash and approximately 12 million shares of BlackRock common stock, valued at $9.5 billion, positions Ogunlesi among Africa’s wealthiest individuals.

Ogunlesi’s GIP Journey: From Credit Suisse to Africa’s top 20 billionaires

With a calculated 17.5-percent stake in GIP, Ogunlesi now stands as one of Africa’s top 20 billionaires. This achievement adds another chapter to his distinguished career, which began with a pivotal role at Credit Suisse and culminated in co-founding GIP in May 2006.

Under Ogunlesi’s visionary leadership, GIP evolved into the world’s largest independent infrastructure manager, boasting more than $100 billion in assets under management.

The deal with BlackRock is set to close in the third quarter of 2024, creating a robust multi-asset class infrastructure platform with a combined client AUM exceeding $150 billion.

Financial powerhouse: BlackRock-GIP deal redefines Ogunlesi’s status and GIP’s reach

The acquisition of GIP by BlackRock marks a significant milestone not only for Ogunlesi but also for GIP, which, under his guidance, diversified its portfolio into the transport sector, natural resources, and power generation. From the groundbreaking acquisition of London City Airport in 2006 to the successive fundraises GIP’s journey has been nothing short of extraordinary.

As part of the deal, BlackRock has committed to appointing Ogunlesi to its Board at the next regularly scheduled meeting post-closing, emphasizing the recognition of his leadership and expertise. The GIP management team, including Ogunlesi and the four founding partners, will lead the combined platform, leveraging their investment and operational proficiency.

The BlackRock-GIP deal signifies a transformative moment for Ogunlesi, cementing his status as a billionaire and positioning GIP within a powerhouse infrastructure platform, resonating well beyond the financial world’s boundaries.

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