Dissident shareholder bowls in for fresh bid to sit on Electra's board


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The Independent Online

The corporate raider Edward Bramson has renewed his attempt to get on to the board of Electra Private Equity, the owner of TGI Friday’s and The Original Bowling Company among other investments.

Electra’s chairman, Roger Yates, insisted the board would reject Mr Bramson’s advances again, and called on shareholders to do likewise. He said: “If you look at our results, this is a really successful business and Mr Bramson has given us no explanation of what he would do to change it or how he could improve it.”

Mr Bramson has called for another meeting of shareholders –almost exactly a year after 60 per cent of Electra’s investors voted against a similar attempt by his Sherborne Investors vehicle. Since then Mr Bramson has raised his stake from 20 per cent to just under 30 per cent, but Electra’s share price has risen by  19 per cent and its net asset value by 22 per cent.

Mr Yates said he had met Mr Bramson and other Sherborne representatives three times. He added: “Given Sherborne’s emphasis on operational turnarounds, you would expect meetings with the managers to be fairly detailed. But, in fact, the level of engagement was pretty poor.”

Sherborne disputed this, stating: “During the negotiations, a series of contractual, legal, procedural and regulatory obstacles raised by the board were successfully overcome. But, ultimately, Mr Yates told us that any board representation for Sherborne Investors was a ‘red line’ for him, without offering any sensible explanation.”

It added that Electra’s senior independent director, Dame Kate Barker, and other board members had since been “much more forthcoming”. It also accused Electra of making more risky investments recently.

Mr Bramson is again proposing himself and co-director Ian Brindle to sit on the board of Electra. He is not calling for the removal of any Electra directors this time.

Mr Bramson has previously claimed that he could increase Electra’s value by around £2bn and said he stuck with that on Friday. He has also suggested the share price could rise up to £60.

Electra’s shares closed 10p higher at 3,250p, which is almost £10 higher than a year ago.