Steel Partners Plans for Public Listing

NEW YORK, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Steel Partners, a hedge fund group, plans to convert its Steel Partners II fund into an industrial holding company and list it on a U.S. stock exchange, according to a press release from the company.

The plan calls for New York-based Steel’s hedge-fund investors to get shares of a public company, called WebFinancial LP into which Steel Partners II has already converted.

The holding company, which has interests in industrial products, energy, aerospace, and other industries, would likely be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYX.N) or the Nasdaq NASD.O, the statement, dated Dec. 31 said.

That would allow investors who want to cash out to sell shares on the public, but prevent capital from leaving the fund.

The transfer is still subject to investor approval, according to the release.

Clients of Steel Partners II lost more than 40 percent of their $2 billion of total holdings during 2008, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, and prompted investors to redeem about 40 percent of their funds.

A spokesperson for Steel Partners could not be reached for comment. (Reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by Lincoln Feast)