Myerson back in limelight
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.