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 share.

It will use the money to fund commercial litigation cases in the U.S. and international arbitration, which primarily takes place in London.

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 in May.

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; jason.douglas@dowjones.com