May 7, 2021

Activist Edward Bramson admits defeat in Barclays campaign

Activist investor Edward Bramson has admitted defeat in his three-year campaign to unseat Barclays' chief executive Jes Staley and force the lender to shrink its investment bank. Sherborne Investors, the fund run by Bramson, said on Friday that it had sold its entire 6 per cent stake in Barclays at an average price of 186p, higher than the 73p the stock traded at a year ago, but less than the roughly 200p when it first bought in during March 2018. "The sector rotation which has lifted Barclays and most other bank stocks may well have further to go, although it is getting fairly late in the investment banking cycle," Sherborne said in a statement. His investors - which have included Aviva, Schroders, Invesco, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Janus Henderson, Fidelity, and Soros Fund Management - will now be questioning why they paid Bramson an annual fee of £4m for what was ultimately a lossmaking campaign. Sherborne also paid Bank of America substantial fees to execute a $1.4bn loan as part of a "Funded equity collar", a complex derivatives arrangement that allowed Bramson to build the majority of his stake in Barclays.

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