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Jupiter may take legal action over Brunswick &#39dirty tricks&#39

Jupiter is considering legal action against PR agency Brunswick this week after the firm mailed out an allegedly libellous document concerning the fund manager&#39s balance sheet for 2000.

Brunswick, which represents Jupiter&#39s arch-rival New Star, admits to mailing the accounts to newspapers last week but denies Jupiter&#39s allegations that it amounted to a “dirty tricks” campaign.

The accounts, which were sent to around a dozen papers, included a cover sheet from Brunswick highlighting Jup-iter&#39s poor financial performance last year.

Jupiter says the cover sheet is inaccurate and hence potentially libellous. One section claims the fund manager&#39s “liquidity collapsed” between 1999 and 2000, with its fixed assets representing 93 per cent of Jupiter&#39s balance sheet.

But Jupiter says this rose from 88 per cent the year before, which it says cannot be described as a collapse.

Jupiter says its sharp fall in profits – a loss of £47m in 2000 from a pre-tax profit of £172m in 1999 – is due to £90m of extraordinary costs, including a £54m writing down of the value of its Asian land & property funds, £14m from additional bonuses and £21m from golden handcuff payments to staff in 1997. Jupiter&#39s parent Commerzbank says the firm made an £18m profit in the first six months of this year.

Brunswick and New Star declined to comment. A Jup-iter spokesman says: “The pack was deliberately misleading because it seeks to present Jupiter as a company with financial problems, which is not the case. It is schoolboy-level dirty tricks.”

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