First round: Icy reception for Bramson and Borrows

First Round felt a surge of asset class-related pride in October when it noticed Simon Borrows, chief executive of listed private equity firm 3i Group, had been shortlisted for ‘Investor of the Year’ in the annual awards run by daily London paper City AM.

Borrows has earned his place among the City’s leading lights; he arrived at 3i in 2012 and set about streamlining the firm’s operations and focusing on three key areas: debt, infrastructure and mid-market private equity in Europe. Shareholders love it; the stock price has moved from around 170 pence when Borrows joined to 674 pence in mid-October this year.

Looking down the list of nominees for the award, there are some heavy hitters. The ubiquitous stock-picker Neil Woodford is there, as is the founder of Fundsmith, Terry Smith. Hedge fund ‘Rottweiler’ Martin Hughes of Toscafund makes an appearance, as well as… hang on, this is awkward… Edward Bramson.

Activist investor Bramson is not someone listed firms tend to welcome on to their share register. This year he took control of Electra Private Equity and promptly served notice on its long-standing manager, Electra Partners.

Back in 2013 there was another listed private equity investor in Bramson’s sights: 3i. After building up a 1.6 percent stake in the business, his plan, whatever it might have been, was effectively squashed by Borrows.

First Round doesn’t often plug awards ceremonies run by other media organisations. In this instance, though, it certainly wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall (or in the soup?) as they sit down together.

As they say on social media, #awkward!