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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Idan Ofer Gives London school £25M

Shortly after leaving Israel for London, billionaire Idan Ofer has given £25 million (about $40 million) to the London Business School, where he studied in the 1980s. This is the largest single donation received by a UK business school.

The donation was made by the Idan and Batia Ofer Foundation, which also announced the development of a special scholarship program for Israeli students at London Business School.

About a month ago, the institution received a £10m donation from South African Jewish billionaire Nathan Kirsh.

The scholarship program, whose scope was not disclosed, will be launched soon. It is aimed at further exposing Israel's future business leaders to the global economy, while helping them accumulate knowledge, understanding and connections.

Ofer said in a statement, "I have enjoyed a long association with the School and believe that it offers something uniquely valuable in the world of business education, combining strong fundamental business and management education with an emphasis on the business community being part of the solution for a better society."

The project, he noted, "is an important step towards ensuring the School can continue to grow and prosper in the future, creating new generations of leaders who can address the challenges of business and wider society.

"My father Sammy enjoyed learning from others and throughout his career in shipping was known to spend many hours speaking with seamen and officers of vessels, rather than being tucked away in his office. 

This sense of curiosity resonates strongly with London Business School’s community where students are not just stretched intellectually; they become a part of an ever-expanding international community, learning as much from each other as from the faculty."

He added that "one of the goals of The Idan and Batia Ofer Foundation is to ensure the next generation of Israeli entrepreneurs is equipped to cope with the challenges of globalization. London Business School 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."

Idan Ofer, Israel Corporation's controlling shareholder, moved to London recently after being criticized in the past few years for benefits received by the Israel Chemicals (ICL) company (which is controlled by Israel Corp) and the low royalties it paid the State.

These royalties were raised in recent months. In addition, the government vetoed ICL's talks for a merger with Canadian fertilizers giant Potash Corporation.

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