The Libyan Investment Authority has bought a 3.01% stake in Pearson, the educational publisher, owner of the Financial Times and a UK-listed company for $324 million - The Financial Times is reporting and a filing shows.
According to FT, the $64 billion Libyan Investment Authority fund has so far made many of its portfolio investments through private equity funds and used banks in Europe and the US to run its investments. It is looking particularly for investments in western real estate markets and earlier this year bought 11 Upper Brook Street, a Mayfair office building.
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The full FT story follows
The Libyan Investment Authority has bought a 3.01 per cent stake in Pearson, the educational publisher and owner of the Financial Times, in the sovereign wealth fund’s most prominent investment to date in a UK-listed company.
Pearson announced the stake on Monday after the LIA, which was already on its register with a slightly smaller holding, took its stake a fraction above the 3 per cent level at which it must be disclosed.
At Monday night’s closing price of 917.5p, the stake is worth £224m ($324m), and makes the LIA Pearson’s third-largest shareholder after Legal & General and Threadneedle.
Tripoli, which last year marked the 40th anniversary of the coup which brought Muammer Gaddafi to power, set up the LIA in 2006, three years after UN sanctions had been lifted, to diversify the North African country’s dependence on its oil wealth.
The fact it was set up so recently has sheltered the LIA from some of the losses suffered by other Middle Eastern funds.
The $64bn fund has to date made many of its portfolio investments through private equity funds, and used banks in Europe and the US to run its investments while it builds up the expertise to do so alone.
Mohamed Layas, the LIA’s chief executive, told the FT last year that it was looking particularly for investments in western real estate markets. Earlier this year, it bought 11 Upper Brook Street, a Mayfair office building.
Mr Layas said last year that the LIA was unique in having almost 75 per cent of its assets still liquid, allowing it to take an opportunistic approach to investments in Europe, America and beyond. He could not immediately be reached for comment last night.
Libya has examined several potential investments in Italy, showing interest in energy groups and the banking sector, but has so far limited itself to a stake in UniCredit, held by its central bank.
The investment comes as Pearson is stepping up investment in emerging markets, betting that an expanding middle class from São Paulo to Shenzhen will drive growth in demand for its school appraisal systems, college textbooks and vocational training programmes. The group is also investing more in digital technology.
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