Activist ups heat on F&C

City A.M. Reporter
ACTIVIST investor Sherborne has increased its stake in British fund firm F&C Asset Management to just short of 15 per cent, piling fresh pressure on F&C management and fuelling takeover speculation.

F&C confirmed yesterday that Friday’s trade of 16m shares had seen Edward Bramson’s Sherborne Investors hike its stake to 14.6 per cent from 11.3 per cent.

Sherborne’s interest has helped rally F&C’s shares and sparked speculation of M&A interest, even though Sherborne itself has ruled out a bid and said it will not take its stake beyond 30 per cent.

The stakebuilding has also put chief executive Alain Grisay in the spotlight as he tries to reposition the company after a rough few years. Bramson has forced out executives in other companies where he has taken a stake.

Clive Cowdery’s Resolution has been cited as one potential candidate to acquire the firm. It is buying up life insurers and has said it might buy a standalone asset manager to run some of the life assets.