BlackRock’s Preqin Acquisition Will Create a Billionaire Richer Than Larry Fink

BlackRock's acquisition of Preqin will make the data provider's founder Mark O'Hare wealthier than billionaire Larry Fink.

Man in suit wearing glasses
Larry Fink’s newest employee will be wealthier than the BlackRock CEO himself. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

BlackRock (BLK)’s newest acquisition is set to make Mark O'Hare, founder of the U.K.-based financial data provider Preqin, wealthier than the head of the world’s largest asset manager. BlackRock yesterday (June 30) announced plans to acquire Preqin in a $3.2 billion all-cash deal that looks to bolster its private market capabilities. O’Hare owns almost 80 percent of Preqin via his holding company, Valhalla Ventures, and is expected to gain some $2 billion from the acquisition, as reported by Bloomberg—a boost that will raise the founder’s net worth above the $1.7 billion fortune of BlackRock CEO Larry Fink.

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“BlackRock is known for excellence in both investment management and financial technology, and together we can accelerate our efforts to deliver better private markets data and analytics to all of our clients at scale,” said O’Hare, who founded Preqin in 2003, in a statement.

Specializing in data for private markets and other alternative assets, Preqin’s coverage includes 190,000 funds, 60,000 fund managers and 30,000 private markets, with a 200,000 user base including asset managers, insurers, wealth managers and banks, according to BlackRock. Its 2024 revenue is expected to total at $240 million, said the asset manager, which noted that Preqin has grown by 20 percent annually over the past three years. In addition to remaining a stand-alone product, Preqin’s data and research tools will be integrated into BlackRock’s portfolio management software Aladdin. O’Hare will join BlackRock as a vice chair as part of the acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of the year.

O’Hare also previously co-founded Citywatch, a U.K. equity ownership database acquired by Reuters in 1998, and spent six years working as a manager at Boston Consulting Group. In addition to his entrepreneurial activities in finance, O’Hare and his wife Lindy in 2020 opened a 350-seat open-air auditorium known as the Thorington Theatre in Suffolk, England.

BlackRock’s expansion into private markets

The purchase will aid BlackRock, which currently manages around $10.5 trillion in assets, as it continues expanding into the private markets space, which it says is the fastest growing sector of asset management. The Preqin deal follows BlackRock’s $12.5 billion acquisition of private-equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP)—a deal that is also expected to make GIP co-founder Adebayo Ogunlesi a billionaire when it closes later this year.

Alternative assets, which includes investments like private equity and infrastructure, are expected to reach almost $40 trillion by 2030, according to BlackRock. The market for private markets data, meanwhile, is currently worth $8 billion and could reach $18 billion by the end of the decade, BlackRock said.

“This acquisition is about driving evolution and growth in the private markets by measuring them, understanding their drivers of performance and making them more investable,” said Fink today (July 1) on a conference call, adding that he believes BlackRock can apply its index fund format to private markets. “We anticipate indexes and data will be important to future drivers of the democratization of all alternatives, and this acquisition is the unlock.”

BlackRock’s Preqin Acquisition Will Create a Billionaire Richer Than Larry Fink