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3i Sees 150 Million-Pound Return From Foster + Partners Stake

3i Group Plc said it expects to reap about 150 million pounds ($256 million), almost twice its original investment, in Foster + Partners, the architectural practice that designed London’s City Hall and Millennium Bridge.

The private-equity firm, which spent about 84 million pounds to buy a minority stake in the firm from founder Norman Foster in 2007, will receive about 108 million pounds from the sale of its minority stake to his partners and the repayment of loans, according to a statement today. London-based 3i will get 40 million pounds more, plus interest, at a later date.

3i, Britain’s biggest publicly traded private-equity firm, said it has helped to almost double the practice’s sales in the U.S., which now accounts for more than 25 percent of revenue, and increase income from Asia to 27 percent of the total from 8 percent in 2007. The architectural firm is designing a new headquarters for Apple Inc. in Cupertino, California, as well as the 425 Park Avenue tower in New York.

“We look forward to continuing to build on our success, but now as a company that is fully owned by its partners,” Foster, 79, said in the statement.

Foster is also working on Bloomberg LP’s new European headquarters in London.

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