A new initiative on the research and teaching of private equity is being launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
The initiative is supported by Abraaj Capital, the largest private equity group in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA).
Abraaj Capital, which operates eight offices in the MENASA region, donated £4 million ($6.2 million) to fund a research programme, an endowed post for a senior academic researcher in private equity and a MSc in Finance and Private Equity – which will be taught from October.
Dr Ulf Axelson(1), the inaugural Abraaj Capital Reader in Finance and Private Equity, will head the research initiative, direct the MSc programme and teach its core course.
Dr Axelson said: 'Over the last decade or so, private equity groups have bought stakes in more than 15,000 large firms worldwide and venture capitalists have become an increasingly important source of funding for entrepreneurs seeking start-up capital. Research on private equity and venture capital is one of the most exciting and important areas of corporate finance, and the career opportunities for our graduating students in this industry make it a key teaching subject.
'Abraaj Capital's donation will help researchers at LSE be at the forefront of contributing to the development of this field. The degree programme will help our students develop a deeper understanding of active investing.'
Globally, buyout deal-activity soared from $28 billion in 1995 to more than $500 billion in 2007, its peak. Since then, it has fallen to $81 billion in 2009 because of the global economic crisis, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.
The private equity research programme at LSE will focus on the economic role of private equity and venture capital organisations in the global market. It will be based in LSE's Financial Markets Group – one of the leading centres in Europe for academic research into financial markets.
The MSc in Finance and Private Equity(2) will give students a comprehensive foundation in all areas of finance, with a particular emphasis on private equity. How private equity funds are raised, how they can be used in scaling-up cash flow businesses, and in providing growth capital and institutional support will all be covered.
Founder and Group CEO of Abraaj Capital Arif Naqvi, who graduated from LSE's Department of Economics, said: 'The teaching of and research into private equity as a discipline at LSE will greatly add to the intellectual capital available to the industry.'
Abraaj Capital, whose network of offices stretches from Istanbul through Cairo to Riyadh and Dubai, also supports LSE students from the MENASA region undertaking postgraduate studies in several disciplines through the PJD Wiles Scholarships.
Notes to Editors
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) studies the social sciences in their broadest sense, with an academic profile spanning a wide range of disciplines, from economics, politics and law, to sociology, information systems and accounting and finance. The School has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence and is one of the most international universities in the world. Its study of social, economic and political problems focuses on the different perspectives and experiences of most countries. From its foundation LSE has aimed to be a laboratory of the social sciences, a place where ideas are developed, analysed, evaluated and disseminated around the globe. Visit http://www.lse.ac.uk for more information.
Abraaj Capital is the biggest private equity group in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). Since inception in 2002, it has raised close to US$ 7 billion and distributed almost US$ 3 billion to its investors. Headquartered in Dubai, the Abraaj Group operates eight offices in the region including in Istanbul, Cairo and Riyadh. Funds managed by the Abraaj Group or its predecessor entities have made 36 investments in 11 countries and achieved more than 20 exits. More than 75 world-class investment professionals work for Abraaj Capital, which manages seven Funds; four buyout Funds; Riyada Enterprise Development Fund, a Fund dedicated to small and medium enterprises; ASAS, an income-generating, sale-and-leaseback Fund; and a real estate Fund. Funds under management at the end of 2009 were US$ 6.6 billion. Funds managed by the Abraaj Group have holdings in about two dozen companies in the region including Air Arabia, the region's biggest low-cost carrier; Acibadem Healthcare Group, Turkey's largest privately owned hospital operator; and Al Borg Laboratories, the Middle East's biggest privately owned medical-testing laboratory company. Abraaj Capital has won many regional and international awards, including five consecutive years as 'Middle Eastern Private Equity Firm of the Year' from London-based Private Equity International. Abraaj Capital Ltd., a member of the Abraaj Group, is licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. The group is also an associate member of the European Venture Capital Association.
1. Dr Ulf Axelson joined the LSE Department of Finance from the Stockholm School of Economics in 2009. His research interests lie in the fields on private equity, financial innovation and security design, corporate finance and corporate governance. In December 2009 he was awarded the prestigious Brattle Group Prize.
2. Further information about the MSc in finance and private equity can be found in the 2010/11 graduate prospectus http://www2.lse.ac.uk/graduateProspectus2010/Home.aspx
For more information
Sue Windebank, LSE press officer, tel: + 44 (0)20 7955 7060
Jessica Karia, Abraaj Capital, tel: +971 50 554 7635
27 September 2010