Sunday 15 September 2019 12:00 pm

Benevolent AI’s valuation halves to $1bn in further blow for Neil Woodford

Benevolent AI, the tech startup backed by troubled stockpicker Neil Woodford, is set to lose half its value as it announces a major new investment.

The London-based firm, which is led by former Facebook executive and government minister Baroness Joanna Shields, has secured a cash injection from Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek.

Read more: Fresh trouble for Neil Woodford as Benevolent AI valuation drops

It is understood Temasek will take a minority stake in Benevolent AI, giving it a valuation of $1bn (£800m). The AI firm was previously valued at $2bn, and will only narrowly retain its unicorn status.


The revised valuation, first reported by the Sunday Times, will be a further blow for Woodford, who has lost at least £43.5m selling off stocks from his suspended Equity Income Fund.

Benevolent AI makes up roughly 4.5 per cent of the Equity Income Fund and just under 10 per cent of Woodford’s Patient Capital Trust, according to data from Hargreaves Lansdown.

Last week the Patient Capital Trust warned investors it had written down the value of one of its holdings, denting the net asset value by 4p a share. This holding is understood to be Benevolent AI.

Benevolent AI, which uses artificial intelligence to discover and develop new medicines, raised $115m in a funding round in April and has unveiled a partnership with British pharmaceutical giant Astrazeneca.

Read more: Woodford Patient Capital Trust share price sinks amid writedown

While the fresh funding will come as a boost for Benevolent AI, the tech startup will be looking to restore value and turn around its fortunes after posting a hefty pre-tax loss of £33m last year.

Benevolent AI, Woodford Investment Management and Temasek declined to comment.


Main image credit: Getty

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