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Liberty launches a second fundraising

SHOPPING centre operator Liberty International yesterday rattled analysts and investors after tapping shareholders for the second time this year in a &pound;280.5m fundraising.<br /><br />The group announced a placing of 56.1m shares, representing 9.9 per cent of Liberty issued share capital, at 500p each.<br /><br />The price is an 11.3 per cent discount to Tuesday&rsquo;s closing price.<br /><br />Liberty International went cap in hand to investors in April to raise &pound;592m of fresh capital via a share sale, prompting analysts to criticise the group&rsquo;s failure to raise sufficient funds at that time. <br /><br />Evolution Securities analyst Harry Stoke said: &ldquo;Liberty has a history of raising equity expensively and spending it expensively.&rdquo; <br /><br />Liberty hopes the fundraising will give it sufficient firepower to revive investment and acquisition plans it mothballed at the start of the credit crunch.<br /><br />Chief executive David Fischel said: &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t expect to be back quite so soon after our earlier equity raising.&rdquo; <br /><br /><strong>SIMON MACKENZIE SMITH <br />MERRILL LYNCH<br /><br />RUPERT HUME KENDALL<br />MERRILL LYNCH</strong><br /><br />WHEN Liberty International decided to tap investors for the second time this year, it employed its house broker Bank of America Merrill Lynch, with whom it has built up a close relationship over the last 15 years.<br /><br />The team involves a slate of long-term bank employees including Simon Mackenzie-Smith, Rupert Hume-Kendall and Simon Fraser <br /><br />Mackenzie-Smith has been with Merrill since 1996, when he joined as managing director of investment banking. He is credited with being instrumental in establishing the bank&rsquo;s UK franchise, and has been involved in a wide range of mergers and acquisitions and restructurings &ndash; including Punch&rsquo;s acquisition of managed pubs operation Spirit in 2006.<br /><br />Hume-Kendall,&nbsp; chairman of equity capital markets has spent 12 years at the bank and has been heavily involved in advising&nbsp; Santander, WPP, 3i and British Airways.<br /><br />Last year Hume-Kendall came 67th in a poll of the City&rsquo;s 1,000 most powerful people. He began his market career as a broker at RBSHoare Govett. <br /><br />Fraser has spent 13 years at the bank, working alongside Mackenzie Smith on the Segro, Debenhams and Liberty deals, as well as Inchcape, Natex and SSE.<br />