Horlick outed as Bramdean secret bidder

BRAMDEAN Alternatives fund manager Nicola Horlick yesterday dropped a bombshell on the City by revealing she was behind the bid approach announced in the middle of her public row with major shareholder Vincent Tchenguiz.<br /><br />Bramdean Alternatives confirmed yesterday that the approach, initially made on 17 March but announced on 30 April, came from Petersfield Asset Management, a company recently set up by Horlick.<br /><br />A spokesman for the fund said that the UK Listings Authority (UKLA) and the Bramdean Alternatives board had decided to make public the identity of the bidder, which can usually be kept secret under Takeover Code rules until a formal bid is launched, in order to avoid skewing the outcome of a general meeting next week.<br /><br />Shareholders are due to meet on 18 June to vote on proposals put forward by Elsina, a vehicle controlled by Tchenguiz, to wind up the fund and return money to shareholders. <br /><br />If the shareholder vote goes against Tchenguiz, Horlick has until 31 July to officially launch an offer for the fund, before the board initiates a &ldquo;reconstruction&rdquo;, or semi-liquidation, of the company.<br /><br />Horlick, who is known as the &ldquo;City superwoman&rdquo; for her ability to juggle a successful career with the demands of a large family, manages investment for Bramdean Alternatives through Bramdean Asset Management, the firm she founded and runs. <br /><br />She is in line for a bumper $8.1m (&pound;5.4m) &ldquo;golden goodbye&rdquo; if she is ousted as manager in the event that Tchenguiz takes control of the fund next week.<br /><br />The Iranian-born property tycoon wants to sack the fund&rsquo;s board, led by chairman Brian Larcombe, amid concerns about its poor performance, which came to a head last year when it emerged $50bn Wall Street frauster Bernard Madoff had swindled &pound;13m out of the fund under Horlick.