3i nets £150m from deal with Gherkin firm

Michael Bow
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THE UK’S oldest private equity group has sold its stake in Foster + Partners back to the seminal architecture practice, which is best known for designing the City’s iconic Gherkin tower.

FTSE 100-listed 3i, founded in 1945 in the aftermath of the second world war, will sell 40 per cent of the business back to the group’s partners seven years after acquiring the stake.

3i will reap £108m from the sale, including the repayment of loans, plus a deferred consideration of £40m and interest. Foster + Partners, founded by Lord Foster, originally handed the stake over to 3i with the intention of buying it back in the future.

The deal will reap 3i 1.8 times its investment. It marks another exit by 3i boss Simon Borrows, the former investment banker who has revived the company from a struggling mid-tier firm into a FTSE 100 blue chip since taking over in 2012.

Lord Foster said: “We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with 3i over the last seven years.”

The firm is also the brains behind London landmarks like City Hall, Millennium Bridge and The Walbrook.

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