Nobody Wants Libya’s $70 Billion

March 25, 2011  |  

(Businessweek) — Several years ago, Libya was primed to dole out some of the billions the oil state held in cash during its time as an international pariah. When the country made its way back into the West’s good graces, private equity managers shined their wingtips, straightened their ties, and headed for Tripoli, eager for a slice of the estimated $70 billion controlled by the Libyan Investment Authority.  “It was the spot that everyone was soliciting as both investor and investee, thinking this was the foothold for Northern Africa and the closest oil producer to Italy and France,” says Thomas J. Barrack Jr., chairman of Santa Monica (Calif.) private equity firm Colony Capital. “They were rising from decades of isolation and economic sanctions and needed everything.”

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