Unicorn Asset Management, the fund management group led by the small companies maestro Peter Webb, is planning to float on AIM early next year.
Although the group does not at present intend to raise any new cash it hopes that the listing will increase the company's profile. The introduction to AIM, the junior stock market, will also allow the privately owned Unicorn to incentivise its fund managers via share options and give some of its early stage backers the opportunity to cash in on the company's recent success.
Mr Webb, Unicorn's chief executive, is widely followed by private investors. He founded Eaglet Investment Trust, now managed by Unicorn, in 1993 and has had great success backing smaller companies such as Mears, the council support services group. In the 10 years since Mr Webb created Eaglet, the trust's net asset value has soared 172 per cent compared with a 36 per cent rise by the FTSE All Share index over the same period.
Unicorn now manages £320m through eight funds and employs five core fund managers who, on average, have more than 16 years of experience in the City. The group is more than 70 per cent owned by its executive management team and describes its investment philosophy as contrary. More than 40 per cent of the Unicorn's assets are invested in the IT services, media and software sectors.
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