Bramson leaves F&C with double his investment

 
Michael Bow
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CORPORATE raider Edward Bramson yesterday stepped down from fund manager F&C Asset Management having doubled his money at the firm

Bramson, who through his firm Sherborne Investors took control of the faltering company in February 2011, quit his role yesterday having made a 100 per cent return for himself and investors.

The FTSE 250 listed company has appointed non-executive director Kieran Poynter to replace Bramson. Poynter, who has been on the board since 2009, is also chairman of Nomura Holdings.

Bramson’s exit, which comes almost three years after he first bought into the company, brings to an end a two-year restructuring of the firm, which he took control of after ousting the former leadership.

The departure follows a transfer of share ownership in the company to investors in his listed Sherborne investment vehicle, which effectively spelled the end of his involvement in the company.

Analysts at Canaccord Genuity said yesterday that – taking into account dividends and when Sherborne bought into the firm – total investor return tops 100 per cent.

PROFILE: EDWARD BRAMSON

Called on at F&C’s extraordinary meeting in early months of 2011 to outline his vision for the firm, Edward Bramson politely declined. The taciturnity was characteristic of a man, who despite striking fear into the heart of flagging CEOs across the country, remains an enigma. Bramson, a 62 year old Brit living in New York, may be dubbed with the sobriquet of activist investor but his long roster of turnarounds mark him out as a mastermind of corporate restructuring. He started early, forming his first private equity vehicle in 1977 with Hillside Capital. He founded Sherborne, his principal investment vehicle and the fund he used to take control of F&C, in 1986. His record since is impressive, despite a couple of mis-steps. He helped revive one of California’s most prominent tech innovators Ampex, having taken control in 1987. He left the firm in 2007 after serving as chief executive for 16 years. Bramson’s UK turnaround ventures over the past decade have also proven lucrative. He took control of promotional gift firm 4Imprint in 2003 through Sherborne, helping drive a big increase in its share prices. The buyout and subsequent turnaround of chemicals outfit Elementis in 2005 and Spirent Communication in 2007 also delivered big gains. Despite problems at another buyout, Nautilus, Bramson has a solid track record. His latest target, 3i, will be watching Bramson’s next move with the utmost caution.