Woodford Investment Management has reduced its holding in Mercia Asset Management amid reports its Patient Capital Trust could move to replace Neil Woodford as manager.
Fund manager Woodford Investment Management has trimmed its stake in investment firm Mercia Asset Management to about 20% from 24.9%, according to a filing published on Friday.
The move comes as trading from Woodford Investment Management’s flagship Equity Income remains suspended following a run of failed investments, and with Woodford forced to make disposals to prop up its portfolio liquidity.
Woodford Investment Management is preparing to sell off its unlisted biotech holdings to that end, though the company insists it will resist discounts on the market rate. Equity Income is not expected to reopen until December 2019, according to the Guardian.
The turbulence has already led to Woodford reducing its stake in commercialisation firms IP Group and Allied Minds.
A separate report by the Times today suggested Woodford’s Patient Capital Trust could appoint a new manager and dispense with its discredited founder, Neil Woodford, who is rapidly cashing out from the vehicle.
Neil Woodford is said to have sold 1.8 million shares in the trust between July 3 and July 8, about 60% of his overall holding, in an attempt to meet personal financial obligations including his outstanding tax liability. The shares have lost 30% of their value since the suspension of Woodford’s Equity Income fund in June.
Susan Searle, the chairwoman of the Patient Capital Trust, stood down from the same role at Mercia Asset Management earlier this month to focus on her duties at Woodford. She had previously served as Mercia’s deputy chair in a tenure which coincided with its initial public offering in December 2014.
Meanwhile, Mercia Asset Management confirmed its annual accounts for the 2019 fiscal year on July 26, after posting preliminary results previously. The company supplied its 17 portfolio companies with £19.4m ($25.3m) in funding altogether while booking an annual turnover of $14m and profit of $3.4m for the year.