The final death throes of City stock picker and Purplebricks backer Neil Woodford’s controversial Woodford Equity Income Fund were played out yesterday as the fund announced that it would shut down permanently in January some four months after being frozen.
It has also been announced that Woodford has been fired from his eponymous £3.2 billion fund despite resisting the move, it has been reported.
The equity fund got into trouble after investing heavily in Purplebricks which, although the gamble paid off initially when its stock price sky rocketed, later brought it to grief when the hybrid estate agency’s misadventures in the US and Australia led its share price to nosedive, dragging the fund with it.
The Woodford fund is now attempting to liquidate all of its assets so that investors can be repaid.
“After careful consideration, the decision has now been taken not to re-open the fund and instead to wind it up as soon as practicable,” its administrators Link Fund Solutions have told investors.
Purplebricks shares sold
Yesterday the fund sold two thirds of its remaining holdings in Purplebricks realising approximately £35 million, leaving it with just 5% of the company’s shares.
Not so long ago it held nearly a fifth of all the publicly-listed Purplebricks shares.
The collapse in the agency’s share price, which has dropped from a peak of £4.72p two years ago to £1.11 today, has been blamed for playing a significant role in triggering the closure of the Woodford Equity Income Fund.
Fund manager BlackRock and investment banking firm PJT Partners have been appointed to wind-up the fund.