Horlick abandons bid for Bramdean

Nicola Horlick yesterday gave up on her attempt to take control of Bramdean Alternatives, the investment company she has the contract to manage, withdrawing a takeover approach her investment vehicle had made.

Ms Horlick's vehicle, which had been proposing a speedy liquidation of the company, said some shareholders now wanted Alternatives "to continue with its current strategy of investing in long-term alternative assets", and that it was therefore pulling out.

Ms Horlick, dubbed a "City superwoman" after a high-profile career in fund management, has been at the centre of a tortuous battle over the future of Alternatives since it emerged that the fund had lost £12m in the Madoff scandal.

That revelation, as well as complaints about the performance of the fund, prompted Vincent Tchenguiz, one of its biggest shareholders, to launch a bid to unseat several allies of Ms Horlick on its board. Mr Tchenguiz won that battle last month and Alternatives' new board committed to reconstructing the company.

Days before Mr Tchenguiz's victory, Alternatives said it was rejecting a takeover approach from Petersfield Asset Management, Ms Horlick's vehicle. Investors had been shocked to discover that a mystery potential bidder which emerged in March was a company set up by Ms Horlick herself – and that it had spent two months conducting due diligence on an investment company she actually managed.

The future of Alternatives – and Ms Horlick's lucrative contract to manage it – remains unclear. It had been understood that Mr Tchenguiz and his supporters were keen for the company to be wound up and for their investments to be returned. But Petersfield's statement yesterday suggests not all shareholders support that goal.

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