U.K.’s latest billionaire shares $650 million with employees after selling data company

When founders realize their dream of a multibillion-dollar acquisition, they usually ride off into the sunset and leave their employees to adjust to a new regime. But Mark O’Hare, the founder of Preqin, is bringing his staff along for this ride after cashing in his 21-year bet. 

O’Hare and his wife Lindy will become billionaires after selling their financial data company to BlackRock for £2.55 billion ($3.2 billion). 

O’Hare, 65, founded Preqin in 2002 to source and sell data on the performance of private equity investments.

Preqin is one of several private data companies that have enjoyed bumper valuations in recent years. The company’s path to an acquisition tracked rivals like PitchBook, which Morningstar acquired for $225 million. 

Preqin was reportedly the subject of bidding from the likes of Bloomberg and S&P. 

The Preqin acquisition marks O’Hare’s second major company sale after netting a more modest £2.5 million sum from Reuters for his financial information platform Citywatch in 1998.

“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,” O’Hare said in a statement.

“I look forward to joining BlackRock and continuing to play a role in the continued growth and success of Preqin and our customers.”

Mark and Lindy’s 80% share in Preqin will help them scoop a £2.04 billion ($2.6 billion) payday, putting them among the 100 wealthiest people in the U.K. when the sale goes through.

That will make them richer than Alan Sugar and Harry Potter author JK Rowling, not to mention Larry Fink, the co-founder of the asset manager that’s acquiring them.

The remaining £510 million is to be shared among Preqin’s management and around 1,500 employees, making several of them fresh millionaires.

The O’Hare couple will have plenty to keep them busy after their golden handshake. 

Mark O’Hare is a part-time private pilot and survived a plane crash on a seven-seater Piper Seneca in 1999. 

Lindy, a former interior designer, renovated Thorington Theatre in 2019, a 350-seater outdoor venue in woodland beside their home in Suffolk. The couple took a £2.3 million loan in 2019 to renovate their home, the Financial Times reported, which looks like pocket change now.

Speaking to The Stage magazine last year, Lindy said the couple hoped they could one day host the Royal Shakespeare Company’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at their venue, in addition to a local music superstar. 

“One day, Ed Sheeran will come. He lives at Framlingham, so he’s only down the road. That’s the dream.”

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