Deal backed

Crest Nicholson poised to accept Bellway offer

Bellway
Bellway has been set a deadline to make a firm offer

Crest Nicholson’s board is “minded to recommend” improved bid terms from rival house builder Bellway valuing the company at about £700 million.

The all-share offer would see Crest Nicholson’s shareholders hold an 18% stake in the enlarged group which would have a market capitalisation of £4 billion.

That would put it among the ranks of FTSE 100-listed heavyweights such as Barratt, Berkeley, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon.

Crest Nicholson and Bellway confirmed today that a revised offer had been made after two previous bids worth about £650m were knocked back. Avant Homes also made an approach while talks with Bellway continued.

A shared stock exchange update said: “The board of Crest Nicholson has confirmed to Bellway that the revised proposal is at a value that it would be minded to recommend unanimously to Crest Nicholson’s shareholders.

“The boards of Bellway and Crest Nicholson believe that there is compelling strategic and financial rationale for a combination of Bellway and Crest Nicholson.

“In addition, the Board of Bellway believes a combination would deliver significant operational benefits (including procurement synergies) and the ability to open dual outlets on at least 10 current and future Crest Nicholson sites with complementary brands to drive incremental volumes at attractive margins.

“As part of the combination the Board of Bellway intends to retain and deploy the Crest Nicholson brand across the enlarged group (including on Bellway sites).”

Bellway has an extended deadline of 8 August to make a firm offer.

Under the latest offer terms, Crest shareholders would get 0.099 Bellway shares for each Crest share they own and a dividend of 4p per share.

The proposal made on 3 July implies a value of 273p per share and is Bellway’s third in the last four months. Its last proposal was worth 253p per share.

The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating the proposed £2.5bn acquisition of Redrow by Barratt Developments to determine whether it “may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition”.



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