Bid alert at 3i as corporate raider plots shake-up
Tuesday 29 January 2013
Britain’s oldest private-equity firm, 3i, went on bid alert today as it revealed that activist investor Edward Bramson’s Guernsey-based Sherborne Investors has built up a sizeable share stake since the start of the year.
Bramson, a Londoner who moved to New York in 1975, grabbed effective control of F&C Asset Management two years ago. He staged a boardroom coup after building up a 17% stake in the fund manager and took control without launching a full-scale takeover bid.
3i, which has a stock market value of £2.6 billion, is a far larger target than F&C but has already had recent run-ins with activist investors.
Last year Laxey Partners built up a small stake and demanded that 3i start selling down investments. But it withdrew its resolution at the annual meeting after veteran investment banker Simon Borrow was appointed chief executive. He immediately cut 190 jobs and closed some of 3i’s furthest-flung offices across Europe.
Today, 3i said it had discovered that Sherborne and its stockbroker Jefferies began trading in the private-equity firm’s shares on January 2. Shares were bought and sold by both parties with the resulting 1.6% stake on Jefferies books on 22 January. 3i, which is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays, said the average price for its shares in those three weeks had been 239p which is considerably above its recent trading range.
Today the shares gained another 5.25p to 264.15p — a level they have not seen since August 2011. Bramson is still executive chairman of F&C Asset Management but will hand over the reins to new chief executive Richard Wilson at the annual meeting in mid-March.
The 3i campaign is understood to be led by Ian Brindle, a fellow Sherborne director and former chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Brindle has joined Bramson on a number of UK companies which he has chaired after successful boardroom coups including Elementis, Spirent and 4imprint.
Last November Sherborne raised £207 million from investors saying it planned to invest in up to 30% of a UK company it considered undervalued. That would only secure it an 8% stake in 3i.
3i was formed in 1945 by the UK’s largest banks to provide capital for small and medium-sized companies. It became Investors In Industry and floated on the stock market in 1994.
It owns or has stakes in companies ranging from Agent Provocateur to coach holiday group Shearings.
Wellcome Image Awards: The most striking images from the world of science, including breast cancer cells under chemical attack and a photographer’s own kidney stone
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: Terrorism explanation 'cannot be ruled out', says CIA
Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow
Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Athlete repeatedly sick as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's post-mortem
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Bad cattitude: Family call police after crazed and 'hostile cat with a history of violence' attacks baby before attempting to 'flee custody'
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering 'terrifying' nest of spiders in bananas
- 3 First Kiss: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 4 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 5 Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow
iJobs Money & Business
£1000 per month: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ban...
£35000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: You must ...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A top, City ba...
VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED : Reach Volunteering: Fantastic opportuni...