Fallen star fund manager Woodford cuts stake in Purplebricks as his entire empire crumbles

Woodford Investment Management cut its stake in Purplebricks to less than 5% as his entire investment empire lay in ruins yesterday.

Woodford previously held a stake of 15.53% in the business, having already scaled back its holding several times.

The transaction both took place and was notified to the stock exchange yesterday.

The RNS gave no further information and did not specify what the stake of under 5% actually now is.

Woodford’s sale of shares in Purplebricks yesterday was part of a spectacular fall from grace for Neil Woodford.

He was first fired from one of his funds, the Equity Income Fund, and then yesterday announced he was standing down from his Patient Capital Trust and Income Focus Funds.

According to the Mail today, Woodford must now serve a six month notice period at the Income Focus Fund and three months at the Patient Capital Trust, as he winds down his entire empire,  the over-arching Woodford Investment Management.

Yesterday evening, Woodford said in a statement: “We have taken the highly painful decision to close Woodford Investment Management.

“I personally deeply regret the impact events have had on individuals who placed their faith in Woodford Investment Management.”

The closure of what had been Purplebricks’ major investor will mean the potential loss of up to 45 jobs at Woodford. Savers in, notably, the Equity Income Fund, face massive losses after being blocked from making withdrawals since June, with calls for a Parliamentary enquiry.

The collapse of the Woodford empire will also bring the Financial Conduct Authority under pressure after accusations that it failed to spot problems before it was too late.

The Telegraph today is calling the collapse as one of the most stunning reversals in City history.

As the biggest shareholder in Purplebricks, owning some 29%, Woodford – described before his downfall as the man who couldn’t stop making money –  slashed that stake to almost 24% in June this year, and has continued to reduce it since.

Purplebricks latest annual report, published last month, showed Woodford having a 19.26%, stake, behind Axel Springer with a 26.57% holding.

Yesterday, shares in Purplebricks rose almost 3% to finish at about 112p. Of particular interest in the days to come will be to see who might have bought the massive stake in Purplebricks that Woodford has sold for an estimated £35m.

* Separately yesterday, Countrywide shares continued to rise for a second day running. They went up nearly 6% to finish at almost 5p.

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  1. Hillofwad71

    Interesting to see today who is the buyer of that significant  stake over £30m  and whether or not its Toscafund .?

    So a bidding war on the cards sooner rather than later ?’  They can only hope as they reach to claim the rose they dont come out with a handful of thorns

    Looks like Oz will be wound up  very shortly as they now have only 75 properties on the books. What is the point of keeping it open for so few  just  give them a refund!


    They still carry the banner in Oz WELCOME TO THE FUTURE OF REAL ESTATE !!!!

  2. IheartRE

    Absolute Mickey Mouse outfit.

    Even still, Woodford is still making a killing for what he paid as he bows out before the black hole engulfs what’s left of the PB empty shell.

    I love how the vibrant supporters of PB commenting here over the last couple of years were always so erratic, and now they’ve simply disappeared…

    1. AgentV

      You can still read some of the comments again if you google ‘BSOS23PC’


      1. fx-361

        Forgive me asking  but what does BSOS23PC stand for?  Why have you tagged so many of your posts with it?

  3. downdoobydodowndowndubaduba

    Amazing how many companies are desperate to join the race to the bottom.

    Woodford, like the Bruce brother, is not a loser in this – just the investors who expect others to treat their money with respect and do their job properly.

  4. Property Poke In The Eye

    FCA need to play a more active role.

  5. smile please

    One of the most consistent performing Funds ‘Berkshire Hathaway’ is managed by Warren Buffett. He has a few simple rules. One of which is “Only invest in what you understand”

    Although Neils rise has been astonishing his fall has been just gob smacking. Did he really understand what he was investing in with Purplebricks?

    1. Chris Wood

      Very few/ if any did because of the way in which the company/ business model was sold….he types, choosing his words very carefully.

  6. WiltsAgent

    Purple Bricks have certainly turned out to be a game changer for this ‘sophisticated investor’. Any other investor might want to bail out now before they follow Woodford’s example. Jam Tomorrow only works for so long.

  7. Woodentop

    Lemmings and now the chief lemming has jumped …. will the rest follow? Not forgetting their is a litigation case announced by PB hiding in the wings and HMRC in the UK have still to announce the outcome of Money Laundering investigation which could be a meggar fine?

  8. PeeBee

    An interesting day on the market – started well and looked like being up 2 or 3 points on the opening bid… but the SP ending up at less even than yesterday’s opening (before the Woodford news broke).

    Seems that the market has decided that #Purp shares are destined to remain around the 110p figure for the forseeable.

    Poor old Prophet’n’Loss – the bu99er daren’t show his face on EYE for fear of being dished up the right Royal pasting he’s well and truly earned with his false prophecies!

  9. PeeBee


    Looks like there’s a new player in town.

    13.24% holding hoovered up on Tuesday by Link Fund Solutions…

    …whoever they are.

    1. PeeBee

      It appears that they are some kind of administrator of the Woodford pot – so more of a transfer than a sale, it appears.
      I guess that explains the uber-low volume and value of dealing on Tuesday.
      Please – anyone understanding this stuff feel free fill in the many blanks…


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