Friday 7 May 2021 1:17 pm

Activist investor sells stake in Barclays

Activist investor Edward Bramson has sold his firm’s 6 per cent stake in Barclays, ending a three-year campaign against the bank.

Since 2018, Bramson’s fund, Sherborne Investors, pressured Barclays CEO Jes Staley to scale back investment banking, and demanded his removal over his links to US financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, but Bramson struggled to gain much traction.

The value of the Sherborne vehicle dedicated to the Barclays stake has fallen by around £150m compared to the £700m it raised when it was formed in 2017.

The fund, in which UK asset managers Aviva and Schroders have stakes, said it had identified another company to invest in and has begun building a position in that firm, which it did not name.

Barclays declined to comment.

“Business is not a science and so people of goodwill may, therefore, sometimes differ. In that spirit, Sherborne Investors expresses its most sincere wish that things will turn out well for Barclays, its employees, and its investors,” Sherborne Investors Management said in a statement.

One top 20 investor in Barclays, who declined to be named, said a recent rally in Barclays’ shares on investor bets of a strong recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic had provided Bramson with an exit route and predicted he would opt for a less complex next target.

Barclays shares have fallen roughly 15 per cent since Sherborne first declared its stake in Barclays in March 2018.

The stock was up 2 per cent on Friday.