Pacific poised to defeat Jupiter

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A BATTLE that has livened up the normally sedate world of fund management should end today with victory for Pacific Horizon Investment Trust over its former manager, Jupiter Tyndall.

Jupiter has waived its right to vote at two extraordinary shareholder gatherings being held today. 'It will be an unbelievable relief,' said Garnet Harrison, PHIT's chairman, who has waged an increasingly hostile battle with John Duffield, his opposite number at Jupiter.

The first meeting looks certain to approve transferring management of the pounds 12m trust to Baillie Gifford, replacing Jupiter, which was unceremoniously dismissed last month. The second had been due to discuss Jupiter's proposal to restructure PHIT and appoint new directors. This plan, which had little support among other shareholders, will now fail.

Although defeated, Mr Duffield was not bowing out quietly. He had unflattering words for some of PHIT's shareholders, which include Legal & General, the Post Office pension fund, and National Westminster Bank.

'Our proposal failed because it was too complicated for them, and I do not think they were prepared to read the small print,' he said. At its simplest, his plan was to swap every pounds 100 of shares for pounds 90 cash and pounds 10 in securities.

The souring of relations began in May when Jupiter blocked an agreed takeover of PHIT by Martin Currie Pacific Trust. Jupiter had its own plans, and one month later claimed it had found a new bidder for PHIT. The anonymous partner eventually backed out.

Jupiter, which is the trust's largest shareholder with 16 per cent of PHIT's shares and 39 per cent of its warrants, will 'reconsider what to do with its holding'.