September 17, 2018 / 3:39 PM / 3 months ago

Activist ValueAct raises stake in Horizon Discovery

FILE PHOTO - Jeffrey Ubben, Founder & CEO at ValueAct Capital, poses for a portrait before speaking on the Reuters Newsmaker event' "The Future of Shareholder Activism" panel in Manhattan, New York, U.S., February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) - Activist hedge fund ValueAct Capital has nearly doubled its stake in Horizon Discovery Group (HZDH.L), buying an additional 7.5 million shares from Woodford Investment Management.

ValueAct, which now holds less than 10 percent, said in a statement it was exploring the possibility of appointing a member of its team to the life science company’s board.

“Horizon Discovery is one of the leading players in its field and is highly supportive of the Company’s ongoing efforts to contribute to improved healthcare,” it said in a statement.

Horizon said in a separate statement that it has had a dialogue with ValueAct over time and believes its board is “very strong, well governed and appropriately constituted”.

In May, biotech firm Abcam walked away from a takeover offer after Cambridge-based Horizon rebuffed a 270 million pound ($355 million) deal, rejecting its rationale.

Earlier on Monday, Horizon, which mostly deals with gene editing applications, said its half-year core loss before one-off items narrowed from last year.

It also forecast full-year revenue to be slightly ahead of consensus expectations and said it expects negative EBITDA before exceptional items for the first half of the year to be offset by positive EBITDA for the second half.

Shares of Horizon Discovery closed at an 8-month high of 236 pence on Monday.

($1 = 0.7608 pounds)

Reporting by Sangameswaran S and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Adrian Croft and Alexander Smith

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