Woodford courts investors as he plots comeback

Pedro Gonçalves
Woodford courts investors as he plots comeback

Former star fund manager Neil Woodford has approached prospective UK investors regarding a new vehicle to enable him to buy back some of his former unquoted investments, Sky News reported.

The discussions, which are believed to be at a very preliminary stage, would not seek retail cash, side-stepping any potential regulatory liabilities following the closure of his fund house last year.

Some of the companies in question include BenevolentAI, Rutherford Health and Immunocore, the report says.

The proposal is believed to focus on a potential purchase of his former stakes in off-market biotech ventures, such as Rutherford Health and Immunocore, at a discount to their believed value.

It was reported by Bloomberg in December last year that Woodford and Craig Newman, the former chief executive of WIM, had flown to China for exploratory meetings with investors.

At the time, a spokesperson for WIM confirmed that the pair were holding initial meetings for investors interested in early-stage assets.

The Woodford Equity Income fund closed in June 2019, following a period of outflows running at £9m a day. The most liquid part of the portfolio was sold off at the end of January, and investors in the fund received a payment. 

In January, accounts for Woodford Investment Management showed that Woodford and his chief executive Craig Newman received £13.8m of dividends in 12 months leading up to the crisis.


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