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B&G Holding plans secondary offering for Europe-focused multi-strategy fund

Absolute return investment manager Boussard & Gavaudan Asset Management has announced a secondary offering of shares in its closed-ended investment vehicle Boussard & Gavaudan Holding, which raised EUR400m at its initial public offering on Euronext Amsterdam last November.

The capital raised by B&G Holding is currently invested solely in the Sark Fund, a feeder for the Sark Master Fund, an opportunistic Europe-focused multi-strategy fund, although over time B&G Holding may carry out other investments identified by its investment manager, B&G Asset Management. The new shares are expected to be issued before the end of 2007.

B&G Holding is a closed-ended investment company domiciled in Guernsey, authorised by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and registered as a collective investment scheme with the Dutch Financial Markets Authority.

Between its listing on November 1 and the market close on March 26, B&G Holding's net asset value has increased by 14.48 per cent to EUR11.45 per share. At that date its share price was at a 0.02 per cent premium to NAV, having traded at an average NAV premium of 0.30 per cent since listing. The fund aims to achieve a net annualised return on its investment of more than 10 per cent.

From its launch in March 2003 to February 28 this year, the Sark Fund has delivered net annualised returns of 11.17 per cent for the euro share class and 11.58 per cent for US dollar class, coupled with low volatility of 3.20 per cent and 3.32 per cent respectively, and low correlation to traditional equity and fixed income markets.

At the end of February, the fund's annualised Sharpe ratio, a measure of risk-adjusted performance, was 2.69 and 2.53 for the euro and US dollar classes respectively. Returns over the first two months of this year were 4.64 per cent for the euro class and 4.82 per cent for the US dollar class, according to the fund's administrator.

Says Emmanuel Gavaudan, chief executive of B&G Asset Management: 'We are delighted to have delivered an excellent performance for B&G Holding since the IPO. We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from investors about both the investment strategy and the resulting performance of share price and underlying NAV. This forms an ideal base from which to offer new investors the opportunity to participate in B&G Holding.'

B&G Asset Management, which seeks to achieve returns through a combination of fundamental analysis and trading expertise, had around EUR1.8bn in assets under management at the end of February in four funds: the multi-strategy Sark Fund (EUR1,420m); Channel Bridge Special Situations Fund, a catalyst-driven fund launched on June 1, 2006 (EUR269m); BG Eonia Arbitrage, a dynamic cash fund (EUR79m) and equity fund BG Long Term Value (EUR78m).

The firm, founded in 2002 by Gavaudan and chief investment officer Emmanuel Boussard, currently has 39 employees in its London and Paris offices. Gavaudan was previously a partner and managing director of Goldman Sachs based in London, while Boussard was an executive director of Goldman in Paris.

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