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F&C’s Bramson targets UK firm with new fund

F&C executive chairman Edward Bramson is preparing to target another UK mid-sized company after launching a second Guernsey vehicle which has the financial backing of Soros Fund Management.

His new fund, Sherborne Investors Guernsey B, has begun to scope out potential targets having raised £207m following its flotation on Aim at the end of November 2012.

The vehicle sits alongside Sherborne Investors Guernsey A, the fund which sees Bramson hold a 22 per cent position in F&C Asset Management.

SigB has said the fund will be targeting a publicly quoted company which is likely to be based in the UK. The firm will be underperforming and undervalued and has the potential to be turned around by Bramson and his team.

The FT reports that most of the £200m raised will be used to buy up to 30 per cent of one target “with the aim of generating a significant capital”. The report says Bramson’s previous backers, including Aviva Investors and Threadneedle Asset Management, have invested in the new vehicle based on his track record for turning companies around.

Bramson was appointed F&C chairman in February 2011, replacing Nick MacAndrew, after a protracted battle between the former board and Sherborne Investors, of which he is a partner. F&C chief executive Alain Grisay also left the firm in 2011. Bramson has begun imposing new cost controls and restructuring parts of the business at the asset manager.

The FT says it is not clear when Sherborne Investors will sell its stake in F&C. The average holding period for Bramson’s three previous investments has been 24 months. However, Bramson has continually added to his holding in the asset manager.

Last month, F&C appointed its head of institutional business Richard Wilson as its new chief executive. The move saw Bramson revert to non-executive chairman of the board following release of the group’s preliminary financial results for 2012.



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