Private equity: We don't know why Bramson is targeting us – 3i

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The Independent Online

The chief executive of the private equity group 3i has admitted he has no idea why the activist investor Ed Bramson keeps buying his company's shares.

Mr Bramson's Sherborne Investors, which overhauls underperforming companies, has built a 4.9 per cent stake in 3i, but has so far remained silent about its intentions. "He has not given any indication of what he is doing," Simon Borrows said. "He refers to us as a target company, but over and above that we are clueless as to what he is up to, because he hasn't communicated that to us at all."

Mr Borrows' comments about Mr Bramson came as 3i beat its £40m cost saving target by 28 per cent last year. It plans a further £60m in savings by next March.

3i, which owns companies ranging from the fashion chain Hobbs to the Tommee Tippee baby bottle maker Mayborn, said that net asset value per share, a key measure for valuing its portfolio of companies, was 311p, an 11.5 per cent year on year rise.

The group sold private-equity assets worth £606m in 2012, down from £771m the year before.

"We have a clear vision for 3i and our focus is relentless on executing our strategic plan to deliver this," Mr Borrows said. "We are only one year into our three-year strategic plan."