Acacia pockets £16m from partial sale of former Woodford Oxford Nanopore stake

Share sale combined with value of US investor’s remaining stake represents a 78% uplift on biotech firm’s last valuation

Neil Woodford

Acacia Research has made a tidy profit off the Oxford Nanopore stake it bought off Neil Woodford’s collapsed equity income fund during its landmark London listing last week.

The California-based investor, which has maintained close ties with Woodford, has today revealed it netted $22.3m (£16.4m) from offloading 3.9 million of its shares in Oxford Nanopore at its IPO last Thursday.

The biotech firm was one of 19 healthcare assets it purchased from the defunct Woodford Equity Income fund last June at a cut price of £223.9m.

See also: Execs at Woodford darling Oxford Nanopore set for bumper £160m payday

From just that single stock Acacia has already made its money back and then some, a fact which is likely to perturb investors in Woodford’s former fund, now called LF Equity Income, who are still waiting for their money back.

Schroder UK Public Private, which inherited part of Woodford’s Oxford Nanopore stake when it assumed control of his Patient Capital trust, also took profits on its holding at last week’s listing.

Acacia sees 78% uplift in value of Oxford Nanopore investment

Prior to the IPO, Acacia owned a 5.5% stake in Oxford Nanopore, which was valued at $170.2m at the end of June. Following last week’s sale, it owns a 4.4% stake, representing around 35.9 million shares, which are now worth an estimated $280.2m based on the closing price as of 4 October.

Combined with the proceeds of the share sale, this represents a 78% uplift on the last disclosed book value of the holding at 30 June 2021, according to Acacia.

Acacia president and chief executive Clifford Press said: “Oxford Nanopore is a global leader in an emerging industry and the crown jewel of the Woodford portfolio, which we purchased in June last year.

“The successful IPO is among the largest in London this year and reflects the many years of foresight and collaboration with which Neil Woodford and his team supported and financed the development of this company from its earliest stage.

“The recently announced strategic investment by Oracle is a further testament to the innovation and leadership of Oxford Nanopore, and we are pleased to be significant shareholders.”

What will happen with remaining Oxford Nanopore shares?

Acacia’s remaining shares in Oxford Nanopore are restricted from resale for a period of at least 180 days under customary lock-up agreements.

It is unclear what the US investor plans to do with its leftover shares. Earlier this year Woodford announced he was teaming up with Acacia to launch a comeback venture. A document fishing for interest sent to institutional investors in April, touted an eight stock healthcare portfolio with Oxford Nanopore representing the bulk of the portfolio at 43%.

Though the fallen manager initially planned to launch his new business, WCM Partners, in Jersey, following backlash from the Jersey regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority, he soon set his sights on the Cayman Islands.

Though a company called WCM Partners Healthcare (GP) Ltd and an investment fund, WCM Healthcare Fund LP, appear on the Cayman Islands General Registry, neither appears on the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority’s (Cima) list of authorised firms. A company called WCM Partners was also incorporated in Delaware in May.

Meanwhile the FCA investigation into the collapse of LF Equity Income remains ongoing. The Woodford case is also set to go to court, with law firm Leigh Day issuing proceedings against Link Fund Solutions, the fund’s authorised corporate director.

See also: Woodford case goes to court as Leigh Day triggers proceedings against Link

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