3i takes stake in Foster architectural firm

As part of his retirement plans, UK architect Lord Foster has sold a minority stake in his firm Foster & Partners to 3i.

London-based private equity group 3i has taken a minority stake in Foster & Partners, the firm of leading architect Lord Foster.

No financial details have been released but reports have estimated that 3i’s stake values Foster’s firm between £300 million (€440 million; $595 million) and £500 million.

The move comes as part of Foster’s plans for the firm after he retires. He has widened the shareholding to include more employees in addition to selling the minority stake to 3i. He hopes this will provide the flexible base for the company to continue to expand overseas.

A 3i spokeswoman said: “It is particularly 3i’s Asian network that has attracted Lord Foster.”

3i said the value of Foster & Partners is directly linked to Lord Foster, the use of his name and his ongoing presence. As part of this transaction he has therefore agreed to assign his personal “Foster” trademark to Foster & Partners.

Lord Foster will continue as chairman. 3i said they normally take a non-executive directorship when they have a minority holding.

Lord Foster said: “3i’s long established brand, global network, quality of people and shared objectives mirror everything that is fundamental to our practice and our clients.”