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3i Rises After Saying That Bramson Has Been Buying its Shares

3i Group Plc (III), Britain’s oldest private-equity firm, rose to the highest in almost 18 months in London trading after saying that activist investor Edward Bramson has been buying its shares.

Bramson’s Sherborne Investors began trading 3i shares on Jan. 2, the London-based private-equity firm said in a statement today. 3i said it “believes” Sherborne has been selling the stock to Jefferies International Ltd., which owned 1.6 percent of 3i as of Jan. 22, according to the statement.

Bramson, 61, became chairman of London-based F&C Asset Management Plc (FCAM) in February 2011 after criticizing the company’s business strategy and ousting his predecessor. 3i replaced its chief executive officer last year and began closing offices in Asia to cut costs after shareholders urged the company to stop making deals and return money to investors.

3i jumped as much as 5.3 percent and was up 8.1 pence at 267 pence as of 8:20 a.m. in London, valuing the company at about 2.6 billion pounds ($4.1 billion). The stock has climbed 48 percent over the past year.

Sherborne raised 207 million pounds in a share sale last year and said it planned to “realize capital growth from investment in a target company,” according to a Nov. 15 statement. Sherborne said it would only invest in one company at a time and would focus on a publicly traded U.K. firm that “it considers to be undervalued as a result of operational deficiencies,” according to the November statement.

3i issued today’s statement “in the interest of transparency,” spokeswoman Kathryn van der Kroft said by telephone. Billy Clegg, a spokesman for Sherborne, had no immediate comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jesse Westbrook in London at jwestbrook1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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