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Hambro Perks swoops for tech bargains in £150m Invesco deal



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A leading early-stage investor has struck a £150m bargain to buy stakes in more than a dozen technology companies from one of Britain’s biggest asset managers.

Sky News understands that Hambro Perks will announce the purchase of principally biotech and energy company stakes from Invesco early next week.

City sources said that the deal would take place at a “very substantial” discount to earlier valuations placed on the holdings by Invesco.

Some of the positions were accumulated by Neil Woodford, the fallen star fund manager whose empire exploded in 2019, and managed by his successor, the now-departed Mark Barnett.

The portfolio includes stakes in First Light Fusion, an Oxford University energy generation spin-out, and Gelesis, which develops therapies for treating gastrointestinal diseases.

In total, Hambro Perks is acquiring 17 private holdings, which include assets in the digital media sector.

The deal is being financed by its Special Opportunities Fund.

It is the second such transaction engineered by the firm’s co-founder, Dominic Perks, in as many months.

In December, it acquired Ombu, a portfolio of seven early-stage companies which had previously been part of Mr Woodford’s empire.

Hambro Perks drafted in Sir John Rose, the former boss of Rolls Royce Holdings, to oversee the vehicle in which those positions sit.

The firm also counts prominent start-ups such as By Miles, a motor insurance app, the fintech Tide and PrimaryBid, which aggregates retail orders for share trades, among promising British tech companies it has backed.

Invesco has been trying to dispose of its illiquid portfolio for nearly a year following a slump in the size of some of its biggest funds.

A wave of investor redemptions and weak performance led to Mr Barnett’s exit last year.

Invesco initially came close to a deal with Goldman Sachs to buy the illiquid holdings, but those talks fell apart some time ago.

Invesco said last March that it was continuing to “explore the realisation of the unquoted assets in the portfolio”.

“Once realised this capital will be reallocated to publicly listed equities which in our view have been heavily discounted due to the fall in equity markets as a result of the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Neither Hambro Perks nor Invesco could be reached for comment on Saturday.



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