THE “homeless billionaire” Nicolas Berggruen is to float a cash shell on the London Stock Exchange.
He will seek £700m from investors for his Justice investment vehicle, which he plans to use to make an acquisition worth between £1bn and £5bn.
It is understood Lord Myners, who was appointed City minister in 2008 under the Labour government, has been approached to chair the fund. He was unavailable for comment last night.
Justice is not Berggruen’s only cash shell but is the first that will be floated in the UK.
In the past he has used cash shells to invest £520m in zombie life assurance fund Pearl in 2009, through a vehicle called Liberty Acquisitions, and $1bn in hedge fund GLG Partners, through his Freedom Acquisitions fund.
Cash shells are companies that consists solely or largely of a lump sum of cash in the bank, with few or no tangible assets.
Citigroup and Barclays Capital are acting as advisers.
It is understood Nouriel Roubini – the economist who shot to fame as the Dr Doom who predicted the economic crisis – has been approached to join the board of the vehicle, along with Bill Ackman, the Pershing Square Capital Management boss.
Berggruen is founder and president of Berggruen Holdings. He also heads up the Nicolas Berggruen Institute think tank.
The son of a famous art collector, he was born in Paris and educated in Switzerland but is a German-US national.
He achieved notoriety when he sold almost all of his possessions – bar his art collection and a private jet – opting instead to live out of hotels.
He is involved in a number of artistic ventures, including sitting on the International Council for the Tate Museum.