Woodford sells remaining Malin stake

Troubled asset manager thought to have sold 1.6m shares earlier this week

Life sciences company Malin is focused on four priority assets. Photograph: iStock

Life sciences company Malin is focused on four priority assets. Photograph: iStock

 

Troubled UK asset manager Woodford Investment Management sold its remaining 3.5 per cent stake in Irish life sciences company Malin this week, according to market sources.

Woodford, whose main fund has been subject to a ban on client withdrawals since it ran into difficulty in June, sold most of its 28 per cent Malin holding last week. It has been seeking to get out of smaller companies and into more liquid groups on the Ftse 100 and Ftse 250 indices in London.

Malin said in a stock exchange announcement on Thursday that it had been informed the UK firm, led by once-revered stock picker Neil Woodford, no longer had a stake that needed to be disclosed to the market. That threshold lies at 3 per cent.

However, market sources said that Woodford sold all of its remaining 1.6 million shares earlier this week.

Malin chief executive Darragh Lyons said last month that he expected a “resolution to the Woodford situation in the short term”.

“It’s key that the uncertainty is resolved,” Mr Lyons said, adding that Malin had been working on building up investor demand for the stock, which was trading at a “huge discount”.

Early backer

Woodford was an early backer of the group, which raised €330 million selling shares at €10 each in its initial public offering in March 2015.

The Irish company was subject to a board and management overhaul last year that led to a refocusing of its disparate portfolio of investments around four priority assets.

These included stakes in: Poseida Therapeutics, which is developing a treatment for bone marrow cancer; Immunocore; Kymab, which is working on a treatment of eczema; and Viamet, which focuses on antifungal products.

Shares in Malin closed at €4 on Thursday, down close to 7 per cent on the day.