UPDATE: Burford Capital Raises GBP80 Million In 5th AIM Float Of '09
Burford Capital Ltd., an investment company that helps fund
lawsuits in exchange for a slice of any winnings, Friday said it
raised GBP80 million in the fifth initial public offering on
London's junior Alternative Investment Market so far this year.
The company apparently fell short of an initial GBP200 million
fund-raising goal, although Burford principal Christopher Bogart
told Dow Jones Newswires that the GBP200 million figure was only
ever the upper end of a range.
He said he was "delighted" with the amount raised and the
investors who came on board. Shareholders include funds from
Invesco Ltd. (IVZ), which holds 45% of the company; Baillie Gifford
& Co.; and Fidelity.
Burford, which is chaired by former Barclays PLC (BCS) Chairman
Sir Peter Middleton, said it sold 80 million shares at 100 pence a
It will use the money to fund commercial litigation cases in the
U.S. and international arbitration, which primarily takes place in
Bogart said Burford's focus will be on cases with big potential
rewards. These could include patent thefts, antitrust proceedings
or corporate torts, and Burford is prepared to fund both plaintiffs
and defendants, he said.
Bogart added that there are more than 1 million lawyers in the
U.S. and spending on litigation - in both fees and payouts - is
enormous. Some $33 billion was billed last year by the 200 biggest
firms alone, he said.
Burford is one of a new breed of funds aiming to tap this
spending and it isn't the only one on AIM. Juridica Investments
Ltd. (JIL.LN), which also funds litigation and arbitration, listed
there in 2007. Privately held players include Therium Capital
Management Ltd., and bigger firms like German insurer Allianz SE
(ALV.XE) and Credit Suisse Group (CS) are also involved.
"There's a lot of activity in this market. There's a lot of
demand for the kind of funding we provide," said Bogart. Litigation
tends to be fairly constant in the U.S. regardless of economic
circumstances, and funding these cases offers investors the
prospect of high returns that aren't correlated to other asset
classes, like equities, he said.
Burford's arrival on the Alternative Investment Market is the
fifth IPO on the junior market this year and the second-largest
after Max Property Group PLC (MAX.LN), which raised GBP200 million
Critical Information Group PLC (CIG.LN) joined in June, NewRiver
Retail Ltd. (NRR.LN) listed in August and Indian Energy Ltd.
arrived in September. Earlier, this month LXB Retail Properties
said it intends to raise GBP100 million in an AIM flotation to plow
into out-of-town retail parks.
Trading in Burford shares is due to start Wednesday.
Company Web site: www.burfordcapital.com
-By Jason Douglas, Dow Jones Newswires; 44-20-7842-9272;