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Activist Investor Bramson Sells His 3i Stake, Netting 38% Return

Activist investor Edward Bramson exited his investment in 3i Group Plc, Britain’s biggest publicly traded private-equity firm, reaping a 38 percent return.

Bramson’s Sherborne Investors B fund sold the shares, or hedged them using derivatives, for 367 pence ($5.83) each, compared with an average purchase price of 266 pence, the fund said in a statement today. The company said other investments offered better returns than continuing to own 3i stock.

The purchases, first disclosed in January, came less than a year after 3i replaced its chief executive officer and embarked on a cost-cutting plan, fueling speculation among analysts Bramson would push the firm to return more proceeds from asset sales to investors. 3i has since boosted its cost-saving targets and pledged to step up cash returns to shareholders.

“We will never in all likelihood discover what Bramson had planned for 3i, but whatever it was, his investors should be pleased with the results, which have been achieved without any public saber rattling,” Christopher Brown, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in a report to clients today. He has a neutral rating on the stock.

3i fell 3.5 percent to 369.7 pence as of 9:38 a.m. in London trading for a market value of about 3.6 billion pounds. The firm is slated to report fiscal first-half earnings tomorrow.

Bramson, 62, became chairman of London-based F&C Asset Management Plc in February 2011 after criticizing the company’s business strategy and ousting his predecessor. He stepped down last August.

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