Bramson’s Sherborne Requests Meeting for Electra Board Revamp

Aug 22, 2014 5:58 am ET

Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Sherborne Investors, the activist group led by Edward Bramson, asked Electra Private Equity Plc to hold a shareholder meeting in an attempt to revamp the board and oust current director Geoffrey Cullinan.

Sherborne, which owns about 19 percent of the London-listed company, requested that Bramson be appointed alongside Ian Brindle as directors of the company, replacing Cullinan, according to a statement today.

In 2011 the activist group took a position in F&C Asset Management Plc, with Bramson, 63, taking over as chairman. He subsequently boosted the fund manager’s performance by cutting costs and focusing on the firm’s traditional businesses such as investment trusts, before it was sold to Canada’s Bank of Montreal earlier this year.

Bramson and Brindle would join a board that has been made up entirely of independent non-executive directors. Electra said in a statement that the current structure “best enables the board to consider the interests of all shareholders without undue influence from any quarter.”

Iain Scouller, analyst at Oriel Securities Ltd., said in a note that other shareholders may resist Bramson’s attempts.

“Given Electra’s good long term track record, robust balance-sheet management during the 2008 downturn and significant gains on realizations in recent years, we think that most institutional shareholders are likely to resist Sherborne’s attempts to gain two board seats,” said Scouller, who has a hold rating on Electra shares. “Especially as they have not disclosed their future intentions toward the company.”

Electra takes minority and control positions in private companies alongside debt investments and stakes in other buyout firms, according to its website.