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Woodford investors set for another payment as healthcare assets are sold at a discount

Investors have received distributions totalling £2.2bn as the largest and most liquid assets were sold

Acacia Research -
Woodford Equity Income shut its doors on June 3 2019

Investors in Woodford Equity Income are set to receive another payment after the firm handling the winding up of the suspended fund's portfolio agreed the sale of more assets.

There were no details, though, on what assets were sold and commentators suggested the price implied another hefty drop in the value of the holdings.

In a letter to investors, Link Fund Solutions said agreement had been reached to sell 19 listed and unlisted healthcare assets to US firm Acacia Research Corporation (NASDAQ:ACTG) for £224mln.

Including the money from the sale to Acacia, assets remaining were worth £444mln on June 2 said Link or £114mln less than an estimate by Morningstar on May 20.

Link said the sale would enable it make additional cash distributions to investors but did give not firm dates for when these might occur and said the sale might take up to six months to complete.

It has been just over year since the now closed Woodford Investment Management suspended its equity income fund which has since been renamed the LF Equity Income Fund.

Since then, investors have received distributions totalling £2.2bn as the largest and most liquid assets were sold, but there has been frustration at the time taken for the remainder of the portfolio to be realised.

Reports earlier this year had suggested founder Neil Woodford himself was interested in buying the unlisted assets, while investment bank WG Partners tried to arrange a £550mln deal that fell through in February.

Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at investment platform AJ Bell, said the sale 'moves investors one step closer to being able to draw a line under this sorry situation'.

“However, there will no doubt be huge frustration at the valuation achieved by Park Hill, which has been managing this process, given the valuation may be lower than other offers that had reportedly been received and rejected previously.

"This highlights the very real problem of being a forced seller with all potential purchasers knowing that Park Hill and Link were in no position to try and push the price higher.”

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