Punch deal at centre of FSA probe

David Hellier
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Events leading up to a critical £375m fund-raising for Punch Taverns in June 2009 are at the centre of a Financial Services Authority (FSA) investigation which recently led to investment banker Andrew Osborne's departure from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, City A.M. has learnt.

Osborne found himself in trouble after investigators listened to tapes of a conversation that included himself, Giles Thorley, the Punch chief executive at the time, and the US fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital.

The FSA case revolves around whether Osborne, albeit inadvertently, divulged information to Einhorn about the terms of the fund-raising that might have allowed the hedge fund to profit ahead of the deal after which Punch shares fell 44p to 104p.

Einhorn reduced his stake in Punch Taverns from 13.1 per cent on 1 June 2009 to 8.98 per cent on 15 June, although he maintains that he was never privy to inside information about the deal.

MORE: <a href="http://www.cityam.com/latest-news/project-beetle-ends-tears-hedge-fund-manager-and-city-banker";>Read David Hellier's full account of the deal.</a>