Neil Woodford sells £42m stake in assets institution to protégé Mark Barnett


Neil Woodford has offered a £42m stake in an indexed retail assets business enterprise to finances controlled by means of his protégé Mark Barnett at Invesco, in a deal that underscores the close-knit dating between of the United Kingdom’s great-known fund managers.

The sale of NewRiver Reit stocks is the trendy reshuffle of Mr. Woodford’s portfolio at a time when investors have pulled coins from his flagship equity income fund each month for nearly two years. Mr. Woodford’s funding business enterprise disclosed on Wednesday that the fund’s assets had shrunk to £4.4bn, down from £4.7bn on the quit of February, and 57 in step with cent decrease than its £10.2bn peak in 2017.


The former famous person supervisor has adopted a chain of unorthodox percent as he battles to repay buyers who are chickening out capital whilst also complying with regulations that imply his fund does now not breach a cap of getting 10 per cent in unquoted stocks.

Mr. Woodford changed into a jolted ultimate week when the Guernsey inventory change all at once suspended dealings in 3 of his non-public groups. The former star manager had shifted his stakes in biotech organization Benevolent AI, cold fusion enterprise Industrial Heat and era investor Ombu to Guernsey so he should reclassify them from being unquoted shares to quoted shares. The trio represents 7 in line with cent of his equity earnings fund, which already has 7.Eight in line with cent of its funding in unquoted securities.

According to stock marketplace filings, Mr. Woodford offered near 6 percent of NewRiver, which specializes in comfort stores and pubs and is valued at £750m, to Invesco this month. The shares had been offered and offered on the open market.

Mr Woodford’s stake in NewRiver has fallen to 23.4 according to cent following the sale, with Invesco’s rising from just over 18 in step with cent to 25 in line with cent, making it the company’s pinnacle shareholder.

Mr. Woodford turned into Mr. Barnett’s mentor, having ceded manipulate of Invesco’s two maximum famous finances to him while the former left to create Woodford Investment Management, which launched in 2014. But their investment techniques have remained carefully related, with each suffering prolonged intervals of negative performance as a sequence of investments soured.

“In small agencies, blocks regularly change single supplier to purchaser. And, yes, Mark and Neil are near and I’m positive communicate frequently but that isn’t a crime,” stated a fund manager who has recognized Mr. Woodford for many years.

The two fund managers invest in dozens of the identical companies however it isn’t clean if Invesco knew the identity of the seller. Woodford Investment and Invesco declined to comment.

NewRiver becomes already the 7th-biggest retaining in Mr Barnett’s UK Strategic Income fund at the give up of March. The new shares were bought across more than a few his budget on the equivalent of the rate they have been trading on the inventory marketplace, in keeping with a person near the sale.

NewRiver trades at a 7 in keeping with cent cut the price to internet asset fee, consistent with Peel Hunt estimates. Around the time of the sale to Invesco, the cut price changed into toward 10 in step with cent. Much larger REITs, together with Hammerson and Intu, have swung to reductions of between 50-60 percent in current months as buyers stay concerned about the outlook for UK retail.

Peel Hunt analyst James Carswell stated NewRiver’s bargain became “a great deal decrease than the opposite Reits”. He said it becomes now not uncommon to look a buyer like Mr. Barnett wrestle a steeper discount on such a deal, however, he additionally mentioned that NewRiver becomes “in a stronger function” than some, due to the strength of its balance sheet and greater exposure to leisure groups. The stock also has a high dividend yield.

However, it isn’t always proof against sliding belongings values on the UK excessive avenue, which have been hit via the collapse of excessive-profile shops and the expansion of on line purchasing.

Patrick Thomas, investment manager at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, stated: “This is not the kind of investment Mark Barnett could have made whilst his fund overall performance turned into suitable in 2015 however he’s now below lighting and needs to take greater risk to catch up with higher performing friends.”


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