Pearson’s chief executive Marjorie Scardino admitted yesterday that she is ‘uncomfortable’ with the 3 per cent stake held in her company by the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), Libya’s sovereign wealth fund.
The publishing boss noted, however, that Pearson doesn’t ‘choose our shareholders, they choose us.’ The company is now investigating whether the stake is covered by the UK’s freeze on Libyan assets.
Of course, Pearson is not the only company to have the LIA sitting on its share register, and a number of other issuers will also be feeling a bit uncomfortable at this point. According to the Wall Street Journal, they include:
Juventus Football Club, Italian football team
Finmeccanica, Italian defence contractor
UniCredit, Italy’s largest bank
Eni, Italian oil and gas company (the LIA is its second-largest shareholder, with a 1.5 per cent stake)
Circle Oil, Irish exploration company