Hedge fund linked to George Osborne’s best man to make millions from privatisation of Royal Mail after ‘buying £50m stake’
- Peter Davies met the Chancellor at Oxford University
- Was Osborne’s best man when he married Frances Howell in 1998
- Davies is a member of management committee for Lansdowne Partners
- Hedge-fund firm has seen value of investment rise by £18million already
- City fund made reported £100million from financial crash
George Osborne’s best man is among the employees of a hedge fund company that is set to make millions for its investors after landing a £50million stake in Royal Mail.
Peter Davies is a member of the management committee at Lansdowne Partners, which saw the value of its Royal Mail shares rocket by £18million after just one day of trading.
Around 36,500 people who tried to buy shares received nothing at all, while 93,000 were given the minimum offering of £750 worth.
Lansdowne Partners has seen the value of its Royal Mail shares rise by £18million as prices jumped 38 per cent
In contrast 300 City firms were able to buy two thirds of the stock put on sale, bidding a whopping total of £37.3billion for just £1.7billion worth of shares.
Mr Davies has been friends with the Chancellor since they met at Oxford University and was his best man when Osborne married Frances Howell in 1998 at St Margaret’s Church, next to Westminster Abbey.
In the first hour of trading 102million shares were bought and sold, driving the initial price of £3.50 per share up to £4.55 at the close of trade, leading to criticism that the service was under-valued.
The Labour Party also highlighted the connection between Osbourne and Mr Davies as part of its criticism of the Royal Mail privatisation.
The Chancellor met Mr Davies when they were both at Oxford and Davies served as his best man when he married Frances Howell in 1998 at St Margaret’s Church, next to Westminster Abbey
A Labour source told The Telegraph: ‘By selling off the Royal Mail on the cheap the taxpayer was short changed while hedge funds and friends of the Chancellor are set to rake it in.
‘Once again this government puts the wrong people first.’
A Conservative spokesman said the allegations were “completely untrue”. “At no point was George involved in, or even made aware of, the allocations,” a spokesman said.
A spokesman for Lansdowne said: ‘To be clear, it is not Lansdowne who directly benefited from these investments, rather British pension funds, charities, universities and others who entrust their money with the firm.
‘Lansdowne is a highly respected, long-term investor in UK and international businesses on behalf of our clients which include numerous UK pension funds.
‘Our commitment over many months to this long-term investment opportunity, and the process followed, have been identical to those in many other IPOs. Our interaction has only been with the company management and its advisers.’
The sale has been criticised by Labour for under-valuing the business and benefiting ‘the wrong people’
Lansdowne Partners made a reported £100million from the financial crash in 2007 by betting against troubled bank Northern Rock in a practice known as short-selling, which has been widely criticised.
Sir Paul Ruddock, Lansdowne’s former chief executive, was also awarded a knighthood last year after donating £500,000 to the Conservative Party.
Sir Paul has denied that his knighthood was connected with the donation and insisted it was for his services to the arts, while also downplaying the profits from short-selling.
In another criticism of yesterday’s sell-off, leading fund managers raised concerns that British funds had lost out to overseas investors.
Sovereign wealth funds in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Singapore and Norway are thought to have been allowed to invest.
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