May 3, 2013 / 9:16 AM / in 5 years

Activist investor Bramson raises stake in 3i

LONDON, May 3 (Reuters) - Activist investor Edward Bramson has raised his stake in UK private equity company 3i to 4.9 percent, piling pressure on Chief Executive Simon Borrows just weeks before he marks his first year in charge of the troubled firm.

Sherborne Investors, the investment vehicle run by the media-shy entrepreneur, now controls just over 47.5 million shares in 3i, acquired at a cost of around 127 million pounds ($197 million), Sherborne said in a statement on Friday.

New Yorker Bramson is famous for forcing through management shake-ups at his target companies and raised 207 million pounds in November to buy shares in an unspecified listed company it considered undervalued.

In 2011 Bramson led a boardroom coup at British firm F&C Asset Management, ousting the chairman and pursuing a root-and-branch shake-up of the 144-year old company after years of share price underperformance.

Within weeks of Sherborne’s fundraising he set his sights on 3i, already in the throes of an extensive turnaround plan after a phase of poor share price performance and weak results from its buyout business.

Since appointing Borrows last May, 3i has cut jobs and streamlined strategy to focus on its northern European roots in an effort to prop up its stock value, which has rebounded by more than 70 percent in the past 12 months.

3i shares were down 0.2 percent at 332.5 pence by 0909 GMT on Friday, having risen by 53 percent this year.

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