Woodford backs £150m tech investment firm IPO

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Star fund manager Neil Woodford is backing the £150m flotation of a technology investment company.

Venture capital firm Draper Esprit was reported in November to be going public on the London AIM market, aiming to raise £120m to £150m.

However, details on the size of Woodford’s investment in the firm were not immediately available.

Draper Esprit expects to invest the proceedings of its IPO to acquire an existing portfolio of interests in 24 companies, with directors and management being prevented from selling their holdings for between two and five years.

The deal will be the first new IPO involvement since Woodford also backed Northwest Biotherapeutics, which was recently accused of financial impropriety.

Woodford, who invested $95m in Northwest and now holds a 28 per cent stake in the firm, wrote to the board asking them to appoint an ex-FBI agent as a non-executive director to investigate the company.

However, Northwest has dismissed the allegations and plans to defend the complaint against it.