CEO Larry Fink
wanted to announce his firm's acquisition of Barclays Global Investors
on the morning of June 10, but it didn't happen until the evening of June 11. That's because BlackRock's relationship with the so-called "Queen of British Football" went sour, prompting Fink to pound the phones to line up more than $2 billion to save the deal, The Wall Street Journal's
Dennis Berman reports.
The story involves Amanda Staveley
, who manages PCP Capital Partners
, which has arranged investment deals between Persian Gulf investors and British firms. Staveley, a former fashion model, was dubbed by the British press as the "Queen of British Football" after she worked on the takeover of soccer club Manchester City on behalf of Abu Dhabi-based acquirers.
Staveley, according to the WSJ, had said she could line up billions from Gulf sovereign funds to help fund BlackRock's deal with Barclays. Fink expected at least $2 billion from the sovereign wealth investors. On June 9, BlackRock executives called Staveley to obtain commitment letters from those investors, but the letters Staveley gave BlackRock were from a special-purpose vehicle she
BlackRock executives became frustrated because they couldn't tell where the
money was coming from, and Staveley would not give specifics, according to the Journal.
A shouting match ensued and by Wednesday, BlackRock cut off ties with Staveley. Racing against the clock -- BlackRock needed to line up the money by Friday; otherwise its exclusive deal with Barclays would expire -- Fink worked the phones and within hours, was able to secure commitments totaling $2.8 billion from BlackRock shareholder PNC
and sovereign wealth funds from Singapore, China and Kuwait, and hedge fund Highfields Capital
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