Power couple at the heart of battle for Sirius Minerals: He’s a millionaire hedge fund tycoon, and she’s a City superwoman
The wife of the hedge fund tycoon who is opposing the takeover of Sirius Minerals has been named chairman of the potash miner’s biggest shareholder.
Nichola Pease, who is married to Crispin Odey, will join Jupiter Asset Management, which has a 7.8 per cent stake in Sirius, on March 2.
Her husband runs Odey Asset Management, which has built up a 1.3 per cent stake in Sirius and has vowed to vote against the deal put forward by Anglo American at 5.5p per share.
Nichola Pease, left, who is married to Crispin Odey, right, will join Jupiter Asset Management, which has a 7.8 per cent stake in Sirius, on March 2
All eyes will be on Jupiter to see how it will vote in the crunch ballot on the takeover on March 3, Pease’s second day on the job.
Odey’s fund this week published a stinging open letter which branded Anglo’s £405million offer a ‘mockery’.
It believes Sirius, which is building a huge fertiliser mine in the North York Moors national park, is worth £893million and said the lowest bid it would support would be 7p per share.
Jupiter has also lashed out at Anglo’s offer.
Earlier this month, the manager of the Jupiter UK Growth Fund, Steve Davies, told the Mail it was keen for the board to keep hunting for alternative rescue deals.
Sirius dashed any hopes of that last week, when it said talks had ended with an unnamed consortium that had been considering raising some of the money to fund the next stage of the mine.
But it is not known if Jupiter can risk voting against Anglo’s approach when the other option, according to Sirius’s board, is the company going into liquidation.
If this happens, Jupiter will almost certainly lose its entire £28.5million stake.
An estimated 85,000 retail shareholders, many of whom are locals, have their pensions or entire life savings on the line, having already seen the value of their investment in Sirius plummet.
Sirius’s shares were trading above 40p in 2016 and are now worth just 5.2p.
With the March 3 voting deadline rapidly approaching, it is not known which way Jupiter will turn.
The fund says that Pease does not have a direct say in the ultimate decision on how it will vote. The final decision will rest with Davies.
But the involvement of one of the City’s most powerful couples – who married in 1991, live in a sprawling mansion in Gloucestershire and have three children – adds more spice to the long-running Sirius saga, which has warned it will run out of money by April and collapse if investors do not vote for Anglo’s deal.
It requires two mile-deep shafts and a 23-mile tunnel between the Whitby site and Teesside, where the unprocessed fertiliser rocks will be sent to be crushed.
Veteran city commentator David Buik said Odey and Pease are unlikely to fall out over the issue. ‘They’d probably have cross words for about three-and-a-half seconds,’ he said.