New venture for Waislitz

Billionaire Alex Waislitz is opening his private money-managing style to outside investors for the first time.

Billionaire Alex Waislitz is opening his private money-managing style to outside investors for the first time.

Listed investment company Wentworth Holdings struck a recapitalisation deal with Mr Waislitz's Thorney Investment Group.

Thorney emerged from the deal with up to 35 per cent of Wentworth's stock and control of the company's investment management.

In a statement to the ASX, Wentworth, to be rebranded as Thorney Opportunities, said it would target sophisticated and professional investors in capital-raising worth $40 million.

Thorney has already committed to that offer, which will deliver it 30 to 35 per cent of the new entity's stock. A subsequent capital-raising offer worth about $10 million would be aimed at retail investors. Mr Waislitz, who is married to Heloise, daughter of late cardboard king Richard Pratt, will be the company's non-executive chairman, subject to his being appointed a director.

It is estimated he manages about $1 billion of Pratt and his own family money. Mr Waislitz has been traditionally an activist investor, taking stakes in companies to gain board representation and force restructuring.

His big investments include engineering group Monadelphous and kitchen and homewares group McPherson's.

In the ASX statement, Wentworth said it would undertake a one-for-two pro rata bonus option issue to existing shareholders, about four months after the first round of capital-raising.

The new entity is subject to shareholder approval at the annual meeting in November.

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