US activist investment trust bags £100m at launch


Shares in Gabelli Value Plus Trust jump 4% in first day of trading

The Gabelli Value Plus Trust (GVP), run by Gamco Investors, the New York-based activist fund manager, has raised £100 million at launch.

The trust, which is chaired by Witan (WTAN) chief executive Andrew Bell (pictured), is Gamco’s first foray into the investment trust market. It had been looking to raise up £250 million and put in
place an experienced investment trust board to appeal to UK investors.

The fund will target undervalued companies that could become bid targets or be restructured to release shareholder value.

Shares in the trust jumped 4% as they began trading this morning.
Analysts at Numis said the fund raising represented a ‘considerable success’ despite falling far short of the fund group’s £250 million target.

‘The vast majority of investment company initial public offerings (IPO) in recent years have been focused on alternative income mandates, with only a handful of new equity funds launched,’ they said.

‘In order to gain critical mass at IPO, funds with an equity mandate have typically needed the backing of a high profile fund manager such as Anthony Bolton (Fidelity China Special Situations ), Terry
Smith (Fundsmith Emerging Equities), or the forthcoming issue from Neil Woodford (Patient Capital).

‘As a result, we regard Gabelli’s fund raising as a considerable success, even though gross proceeds of £100 million compare with a target of up to £250 million.’