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HORLICK BID SET TO TURN HOSTILE

<div>CITY superwoman Nicola Horlick has vowed not to give up her quest to take over Bramdean Alternatives, the listed fund she manages, after its board pulled out of talks yesterday. Her refusal to back down could pave the way for the first instance in corporate history that a fund manager launches a hostile bid for his or her own fund.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>Bramdean Alternatives said yesterday it had decided to terminate offer discussions with Horlick and the company she set up to launch her bid, Petersfield Asset Management.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>But the fund added that Petersfield &ldquo;has indicated that it is not withdrawing its approach&rdquo; and that Bramdean Alternatives remains in an offer period under the Takeover Code.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>&ldquo;Discussions have been ongoing since 17 March, when the approach was initially made,&rdquo; said a spokesman for Bramdean Alternatives, adding: &ldquo;Nothing in those discussions gave the board confidence that a suitable bid would be forthcoming.&rdquo;<br /><br />But he said that the board would be willing to recommend a future bid from Horlick if it is at a level which is in the best interests of shareholders. <br /><br />It also emerged yesterday that Horlick has enlisted her old friend Tony Caplin, chairman of City broker Panmure Gordon, to take up the position of non-executive chairman at Petersfield.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>Caplin is also a close acquaintance of property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz, leading some to question whether he has been brought in to smooth over relations between the pair.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>Tchenguiz, a 28 per cent shareholder in Bramdean Alternatives through his vehicle Elsina, has been involved in a public dispute with Horlick over the fund&rsquo;s future. He has called shareholders together for a meeting this Thursday, to vote on proposals to sell off the fund&rsquo;s investments and return money to investors.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>If the shareholder vote goes against Tchenguiz, Horlick would have until 31 July to officially launch a takeover offer for the fund, before the board initiates a &ldquo;reconstruction&rdquo;, or semi-liquidation, of the company.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>A spokesman for Petersfield said last night that it &ldquo;does not view the approach as hostile&rdquo;, as Horlick is not seeking to oust the incumbent management if she takes control.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>Bramdean Alternatives confirmed last week that Horlick was behind the approach, which was announced on 30 April. No formal bid has yet been tabled. Horlick manages investments for the fund through Bramdean Asset Management, the firm she founded and runs.</div>