Idan Ofer donates £25 million to a London business school

By Sandy Rashty, October 2, 2013
London Business School (pictured) received a £25 million donation from the Israeli tycoon (Photo: Bjoertvedt)

London Business School (pictured) received a £25 million donation from the Israeli tycoon (Photo: Bjoertvedt)

Israeli-born billionaire Idan Ofer has donated £25 million to the London Business School – believed to be the largest single donation ever made to a UK business school.

Mr Ofer, 57, whose net worth is estimated at over £4 billion, graduated from the LBS with an MBA in the 1980s and went on to secure his fortune in shipping and energy.

The donation, made under the Idan and Batia Ofer Foundation, will fund the redevelopment of the Old Marylebone Town Hall, in central London, which was acquired by the LBS in 2012, as a campus building.

The site, which will see building work commence next month, will be named The Sammy Ofer Centre in honour of the tycoon’s late father. The new Centre is expected to open by 2016 and increase teaching space by 70 per cent.

Mr Ofer said: "My father considered investment in education to have the highest return for the company. He invested heavily in education at the individual and institutional level, and I am proud to continue this tradition.

"One of the goals is to ensure the next generation of Israeli entrepreneurs is equipped to cope with the challenges of globalisation.

"The LBS is at the forefront of helping to meet these challenges. The Foundation hopes in this small way to contribute to economic growth in the region, ultimately improving the prospects for peace and stability.

Mr Ofer's donation comes one month after South African Jewish billionaire Nathan Kirsh donated £10 million to the LBS.

Mr Ofer, the richest man in Israel, moved to London with his wife Batia – from a £11.5 million flat in Tel Aviv - for “family reasons” this year. The move sparked a tax evasion row in Israel.

Mr Ofer co-owns the family business Sammy Ofer Group Monaco, which boasts the largest fleet of British-flagged ships in the world, with his brother Eyal.

The family are renowned for their large charitable donations. Eyal made headlines when he donated £10 million to London’s Tate Modern Museum, under the Eyal Ofer Family Foundation, this year. There is a wing at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich named after Sammy Ofer, who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, after his £20 million donation in 2008.

Last updated: 9:04am, October 3 2013