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Collapse of £550M deal to sell Woodford's biotechs sparks fire sale fears

February 10, 2020 / FierceBiotech

A £550 million ($711 million) deal to find new homes for Neil Woodford’s biotech holdings has collapsed, raising the prospect that stakes in companies including Immunocore will be auctioned off for knock-down prices. Woodford became a go-to source of money for private British biotechs in the years after he left Invesco to set up his own fund. However, the illiquid nature of Woodford’s holdings in such companies became a problem as more and more investors began taking money out of the fund. The retreat by investors led Woodford to suspend trading in his flagship fund. The suspension was intended to buy Woodford time to pivot the fund from private biotechs to easy-to-trade stocks. However, the process went too slowly to satisfy the fund’s administrator, leading it to fire Woodford and start to wind up the fund.