Friday 5 June 2020 9:26 am

Acacia snaps up Woodford biotech stakes in £224m deal

US-listed patent licensing firm Acacia Research today secured a deal to buy a portfolio of biotech stakes from Neil Woodford’s failed fund for up to £223.9m.

The deal will see Acacia take control of shareholdings in 19 healthcare firms, including Oxford Nanopore and Immunocore.

Read more: Neil Woodford one year on: How the star stock picker fell from grace

California-based Acacia, which specialises in intellectual property and patent licensing, agreed the deal with administrator Link Fund Solutions after months of talks.

The sale will return almost £224m to investors in Woodford’s flagship Equity Income Fund, many of whom suffered huge losses following the collapse of the former star stock picker’s asset management empire.

The deal comes almost a year after Woodford suspended the fund following a surge in investor withdrawals, sparking the investment industry’s biggest crisis in years.

Woodford and former colleague Craig Newman also submitted a proposal for the biotech portfolio to PJT Park Hill, which advised on the sale, Sky News reported.

Read more: Woodford protege Mark Barnett leaves Invesco after 24 years

While the deal includes interests in several high-profile biotech companies, it is not said it include artificial intelligence giant Benevolent AI.

Link Fund Solutions said the net asset value of the remaining fund was just over £444m as of 3 June.

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