Edward J. Bramson, the managing member of Sherborne Investors Management, already made a play earlier in the year to get three seats on the board of Electra Private Equity. His request for the seats was rejected. But that didn’t stop him from trying again.
This time, he is only after two seats on the board of the prestigious private equity firm, one for himself and one for a friend and associate, Ian Brindle. Brindle once was the chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Britain and has long been an associate of Bramson. To get them he has employed some rather grand tactics.
He sent a letter to all of Electra’s shareholders last week and said, in not so many words (or maybe in more) that if they wanted to see a gain of over one billion pounds, they should remove the current director Geoffrey Cullinan and vote to have himself and Brindle join the board. Electra did not hesitate to fire back. The Electra chairman, Roger Yates said, “We are surprised that Sherborne’s letter demonstrates considerable misunderstanding of how Electra works. Exuberant and unsubstantiated claims are no substitute for Electra’s consistently superior track record. Your board aims to continue this record without the destabilizing efforts of Mr. Bramson. The board of directors of Electra strongly urges all shareholders to vote against the resolutions.”
It is true that Bramson did not outline anywhere in his letter a plan to raise the value of the shares the billion pounds that he claimed he could, but that might not stop investors from voting him in anyway. After all, an investor should theoretically care less about who makes the money as long as they make it (barring criminal activity, of course). And one billion dollars is a lot of money.
Curious members of the public will have to wait until October 6th, the date of the next shareholders meeting, to see what happens.