Starboard Value-backed Acacia Research has secured an 11.8% stake in British healthcare technology company Sensyne Health as part of its 224 million pound deal with Neil Woodford’s former equity income fund.
“We recognise the extraordinary potential of Sensyne’s business model,” said Acacia CEO Clifford Press said, adding that the U.K. company has engaged in a “constructive” dialogue with the U.S. investor.
The investment is a component of a June transaction between Acacia and LF Equity Income Fund, the flagship fund of disgraced money manager Neil Woodford. Acacia agreed to buy 19 of the failed fund’s healthcare assets at a deeply discounted price of 224 million pounds ($300 million).
Unlike other stakes purchased from Woodford’s fund and disposed of quickly, Acacia seems to have taken the position in Sensyne with a longer view in mind, chief executive Press saying that the U.S. activist firm “strongly” supports the “continued development of a very talented management team for the next stage of the company’s growth.”
Acacia, historically a company focused on acquiring patents and licensing them to corporate users, shifted to an activist approach earlier this year following a strategic partnership with U.S. activist Starboard. Acacia is led by Starboard’s long-time external partners Press and Al Tobia.
Earlier this year, U.K. activist Gatemore Capital Management disclosed a stake in Sensyne, worth just over 5%. Gatemore Managing Director Liad Meidar said that Gatemore believes “that Sensyne can trade at between 300-400p a share within 3 years and we continue to work collaboratively with management on the next stages of growth and development.” He added that the activist is “pleased that other shareholders also recognise the tremendous value and potential of the company.”
Shares in Sensyne traded down 1.4% at 60.14 pence at 2:20 p.m. British Summer Time on Tuesday.