Myerson back in lime­light

Finweek English Edition - - The Company You Keep -

RE­MEM­BER BRIAN MYERSON and Ju­lian Treger, the South African ex­pats who formed Ac­tive Value Ad­vi­sors in Bri­tain in the pre­vi­ous cen­tury and lit a fire un­der sev­eral dozy, un­der­per­form­ing man­age­ments? The ven­er­a­ble re­tailer Lib­erty’s was one of their causes célèbres.

They were less suc­cess­ful when they came back home to teach the colo­nials a les­son, though they forced board­room changes at Pri­me­dia. They bought Dec­tronic as a shell and re­named it Avasa but never re­ally did much and re­treated back to Bri­tain. Their SA point man – Mark Barnes – went on to form Pur­ple Cap­i­tal.

Their part­ner­ship broke up in 2004 af­ter they lost £30m try­ing to stop ad­ver­tis­ing group WPP tak­ing over Cor­diant. Treger set up Aud­ley Cap­i­tal and Myerson set up Prin­ci­ple Cap­i­tal and, sep­a­rately, they con­tin­ued their as­set-strip­ping ways.

Myerson prob­a­bly has the higher pro­file and this month spent £1,5m on a 48% stake in the man­age­ment com­pany Daw­nay Day Sir­ius, a prop­erty in­vest­ment out­fit fo­cused on busi­ness parks, offices and in­dus­trial com­plexes through­out Ger­many and part of the overex­tended Daw­nay Day fi­nan­cial con­glom­er­ate.

For what it’s worth, Myerson thinks cur­rent fi­nan­cial prob­lems could drag on for an­other three years and sees more ca­su­al­ties among highly geared com­pa­nies. For him, of course, that’s an op­por­tu­nity rather than a threat. But the rest of us may feel dif­fer­ently.

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