June 25, 2019 / 9:18 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Woodford close to hiring bankers to sell stakes in Atom Bank, Oxford Nanopore -source

(Changes source, adds background)

By Bhargav Acharya

June 25 (Reuters) - Woodford Investment Management Ltd IPO-WOOD.L is close to hiring bankers to sell its stakes in private companies Atom Bank and Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a source close to Woodford told Reuters on Tuesday.

The British fund manager is on the verge of appointing PJT Park Hill, a division of the investment bank PJT Partners Inc , to offload stakes in those companies, the source said.

Sky News reported earlier that the move by Woodford is expected to be finalised within days, and said it was part of a rescue bid aimed at raising hundreds of millions of pounds.

Woodford's discussions about offloading the unquoted holdings in its Equity Income Fund relate only to that entity and not to Woodford Patient Capital Trust Plc, Sky News said, citing city sources.

Neil Woodford, one of Britain's most famous fund managers, has faced criticism after suspending his 3.7 billion pound equity income fund on June 3.

The fund designed for retail investors, has not given a date for reopening after an increase in demand from clients to take their money back.

Britain's Financial Conduct Authority has said the fund had taken full advantage of flawed European Union laws, adding the investigations on the firm were ongoing.

A Woodford representative declined to comment while PJT Park Hill did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey and Lisa Shumaker)

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