Woodford Investment Management is set to hire bankers PJT Park Hill to sell private holdings in the gated Equity Income fund, such as Atom Bank and Oxford Nanopore.
The move, part of a rescue bid aimed at releasing hundreds of millions of pounds, is expected to be finalised within days, according to Sky News.
PJT Park Hill, a division of the investment bank PJT Partners, is expected to consider disposals of the illiquid stakes to a single or multiple buyers.
Sources told Sky News that Atom Bank and the life sciences companies Oxford Nanopore and Proton Partners were among the holdings in the Equity Income fund and that manager Neil Woodford would not consider selling the stakes at a discount.
Earlier this month Woodford IM made the decision to only list the top ten holdings in its funds following the suspension of the flagship Equity Income fund on 3 June, as manager Neil Woodford continues to drastically adjust the portfolios to meet the redemption targets.
Prior to the fund suspension, Woodford IM announced plans in March to switch exposure to unquoted stocks in the Equity Income fund in favour of buying shares in the Woodford Patient Capital Trust, adding it had sold some of the unquoted stocks to Patient Capital.
Woodford subsequently confirmed illiquid holdings in the Equity Income fund would be cut to under 10% of the portfolio by the end of the year with a view to reducing this to zero over the longer term.
Within ten days of the fund suspension, Woodford had sold £95m of stock, the FT reported, although a total of £600m had been sold or transferred, including the transfer of holdings to the new managers of his St James's Place (SJP) mandates; Woodford was sacked from the suite of funds he ran for SJP, worth a total of £3.5bn, and replaced by Columbia Threadneedle's Richard Colwell and RWC Partners' Nick Purves. A spokesperson for Woodford denied it was a fire sale of assets.
Woodford and PJT Park Hill declined to comment on the plans to sell its unquoted holdings.
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