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Woodford buys major holdings in tech trio from Invesco

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Woodford buys major holdings in tech trio from Invesco

Neil Woodford has started to buy shares in several of his favourite technology firms from his former employer.

The Citywire A-rated manager has snapped up exactly the same number of shares as Invesco has sold in companies including ReNeuron, e-Therapeutics and Revolymer.

Woodford (pictured) had held stem-cell specialist ReNeuron through his former Invesco Perpetual funds and in his St James’s Place mandate, and has now acquired 242 million shares for his new CF Woodford Equity Income fund. That stake is worth around £7 million and means Woodford now owns 14.9% of the company.

On the same day that Woodford bought his shares in ReNeuron, Invesco reduced its holding in the firm by 242 million shares.

Woodford has also been a longstanding investor in e-Therapeutics and has bought 18.2 million shares in the business for his new fund. That is worth around £5 million and takes Woodford’s ownership of e-Therapeutics to 17.7%. Again, Invesco cut its position in e-Therapeutics by the same number of shares on the same day.

Invesco similarly sold 10 million shares in polymer developer Revolymer, worth almost £5 million, on the same day Woodford procured a stake of the same size.

Invesco declined to comment on whether a deal had been struck between them over the formal transfer of holdings, while a spokesperson for Woodford Investment Management told Wealth Manager that 'no conversations' had taken place between the two firms on the subject.

Other investments by Woodford for his new fund emphasise his interest in small-cap tech firms.

Benchmark Holdings listed only in December last year, for example, and focuses on biotechnology for aquaculture and agriculture. Woodford has initiated a position in Benchmark with the purchase of 8.5 million shares, equivalent to 6.2% of the firm and worth around £7 million.

He has furthermore committed to a stake worth around £86 million in Imperial Innovations as part of the venture-capital firm’s fundraising.

Woodford has also allocated approximately £12.5 million to RM2 International, a Luxembourg-based pallet innovator that listed on AIM in January.

The CF Woodford Equity Income fund began trading last week, but Woodford has yet to reveal how much he raised during its offer period.

‘We don’t believe it would be sensible to announce the total amount raised for the fund immediately for reasons of market sensitivity and to protect investors in the fund,’ he explained.

‘However, we will announce this figure once the portfolio has largely taken shape and we expect the portfolio to be substantially invested by the end of June. In the interests of transparency and keeping our investors informed, we commit to providing full disclosure of the fund’s holdings on our website on a monthly basis.’

Woodford added: ‘I intend to proceed in a careful and considered manner, with a strong, disciplined focus on valuation – I won’t buy any share for the portfolio unless I view its valuation as attractive.’

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