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Agencies & People

Purplebricks backer in ‘frantic’ bid to save his flagship fund

Neil Woodford sold off shares in 21 companies last week including Purplebricks as he sought to raise cash in order to repay investors.

Nigel Lewis

woodford purplebricks

The efforts of leading fund manager Neil Woodford to sell off his holdings in many leading UK companies including Purplebricks has become ‘frantic’, it has been revealed.

Woodford last week cut his stake in at least 21 companies as he rushed to raise funds to repay investors wanting to withdraw their cash from his flagship £3.7 billion Equity Income Fund, which he recently suspended.

This compares with the previous four weeks when he sold just two of his stakes.

Among the most significant sales this week were a stake of 5% in intellectual property company Allied Minds, 9.63% in Purplebricks, 7.42% in property investor NewRiver REIT and 5.45% in used-vehicle market BCA Marketplace.

House builders

He also reduced his holdings in builders Crest Nicholson and Kier Group, as well as Circassia Pharmaceuticals.

As The Negotiator reported last week, Woodford reduced his shareholding in Purplebricks to 23.9%.

Over the weekend former City minister Lord Myners told the BBC that the UK’s financial regulator “should have been awake” to problems at Woodford’s investment fund, and that the Financial Conduct Authority had missed “clear warning signs” that things were going wrong

Woodford’s Equity Income Fund has also been dropped by one of the UK’s leading funds ‘supermarkets’, Hargreaves Lansdown, which included the fund in its ‘top 50’ list and was one of his key supporters after he went solo.

Woodford was a star fund manager at Investco Perpetual before setting up his own fund in 2013, the same year he was awarded a CBE.




June 10, 2019

One comment

  1. Well done to the Bruce’s – Purplebricks has been Goldenbricks for them, and even Mr Woodford is ahead of the game (in terms of getting money out of Purplebricks), though it is questionable that his daytime job – running an investment portfolio of only a limited amount of companies – which has dropped by over 60% in value in recent times – will be scoring points with those investors who invested with him.

    Purplebricks if it survives in its present form might limp along hoovering up those vendors who want to play Russian roulette with an upfront model, which pays off 50% of the time, if the property listed is 260k in value or less – but a pure online agency – is not going to be the system of the future for a ‘contact sport’ like estate agency – the human factor is still an extremely important part of the mix.

    Axel Springer – that is the interesting factor – they paid for shares a year ago at three times the level they are now able to buy shares at – so on the one hand – a great time to gain control of the business – but on the flip side – having a controlling interest of a business that does not make profit – is that a logical step?

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