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Exclusive: Neil Woodford's Unicorn-hunter's graveyard found

By Nigel Somerville | Wednesday 7 November 2018

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Some of you may remember Cynical Bear’s amusement at the operational highlight reported by Woodford Patient Capital Trust in its April results statement:

  “UNICORN HUNTERS: The Company is invested in four companies valued at more than $1 billion – Purplebricks, Oxford Nanopore, Benevolent AI and Immunocore.”

Cynical went on: WPCT used to have many more unicorns in the portfolio, Prothena and Theravance Biopharma to mention two very recent ones. I like to imagine that Neil Woodford is literally hunting them down, investing in them and then shooting them dead from point-blank range. Well, I have news: ShareProphets can exclusively reveal Woodford’s Unicorn Graveyard….

As you can see, for no apparent reason the photo below was offered to WCPT shareholders back in July 2016. It seems that Neil Woodford has been a self-styled unicorn-hunter for some time, then. Unfortunately, it seems that Mr Woodford has mistaken his target,  which perhaps explains why they haven’t yet attained the big valuations of the likes of Facebook or Google.


The image, not of Woodford in a deer-stalker with a shotgun in hand, but of Don Quixote on the back of a horse tilting at windmills suddenly springs to mind!

Meanwhile, I see that Immunocore has still not published its FY17 accounts at Companies House – although it does appear to be doing rather a lot of share buy-backs and share issues.  All very odd – especially as one of Neil’s Unicorns, which was valued for WPCT on the basis of a funding round which didn’t then happen, and since then the FD has gone, along with the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Business Officer and CEO out of the door. Oh, and the NED from Malin (its now former CEO who only lasted a year and dumped EUR 300,000 of Malin shares in May) has gone too.

So is this a unicorn, or another rocking horse?




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