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19 Feb 2007

Major Hedge Fund Shareholder Proposes Restructuring of Trust

Hedge fund Carrousel Capital has submitted proposals for a restructuring or merger of the Gartmore European investment trust, of which Carrousel owns 28.03% and is its largest shareholder.

Bruno Sangle-Ferriere, founder of British-based Carrousel, said he would make an announcement to the Stock Exchange on Friday or early next week.

Carrousel Capital said in informal talks with Gartmore that the hedge fund aims to buy into undervalued closed-end funds, restructuring it into an umbrella fund which could offer a range of investment mandates and which could take over or merge with other funds.

Gartmore Chairman Rodney Dennis said on Thursday. "We have had a couple of meetings (with Carrousel), but we've been unable to get a clear idea of what's being proposed,"

Over the past five years Gartmore European's net asset value has risen 72%, compared with a 51% return from the FTSE World Europe excluding UK index. "Performance has been very good, it's on a very tight discount, the manager is highly regarded and shareholders are happy. It is a bit mysterious that there is even an issue around Gartmore European," Dennis said.

Gartmore Chairman John von Spreckelsen and director Bruno Merki retired in September. The trust said at the time that the changes were due to corporate governance pressures and not the result of shareholder pressure.

Hedge Fund Investcorp to Sell Off Investment Company

It was announced today in a press release by Eurazeo that global hedge fund manager Investcorp has finalized a deal to sell APCOA, the leading pan-European manager of parking services, for an enterprise value of €885 million (1.16+ billion dollars), to Eurazeo. The closing of the transaction, subject to the relevant competition authority approval, should take place during the second quarter of 2007.

APCOA has operations in 13 countries, primarily Germany, Great Britain and Scandinavia. In 2006 APCOA had sales of €489 million ($642.5 million), up 7% on 2005.

Thilo Sautter, head of the German private equity practice at Investcorp: “We are delighted with the sale of APCOA to Eurazeo, after having led the successful transformation of APCOA to the leading European car park operator. Eurazeo is an excellent shareholder for APCOA and will provide APCOA with the necessary resources to continue the international expansion and support the growth strategy initiated under Investcorp’s stewardship.”

Peter Fischer, CEO of APCOA, said: “Over the past three years we have, together with Investcorp, developed and implemented a successful strategy to become the leading European car park operator....Our portfolio is well suited for selective bolt-on acquisitions and our network will benefit from expansion into new markets.”

With more than €6 billion in diversified assets and a market capitalisation of €5.8 billion, Eurazeo is one of the leading listed European investment companies. Eurazeo is a majority or key shareholder in companies such as Europcar, Rexel, B&B Hôtels and ANF. Eurazeo also holds significant stakes in Danone, Véolia and Air Liquide.

Investcorp is a leading provider and manager of alternative investment products. It has offices in New York, London and Bahrain. Investcorp has five lines of business: private equity, hedge funds, real estate, venture capital and Gulf growth capital. Founded in 1982, Investcorp has grown to become one of the largest and most diverse alternative investment managers in terms of both product offerings and geography. It currently has over $10 billion in invested assets under management.