Source - Alliance News

A Countryside Partnerships PLC suitor backed a call for the housebuilder and urban regeneration firm to kick off a search for a buyer, adding that it would ‘welcome’ the chance to participate.

San Francisco-based investor Inclusive Capital Partners LP noted a UK press report which stated Browning West LP has in a letter called for Countryside to hunt for an acquirer. Browning is Countryside's largest shareholder, holding just over a 15% stake.

In-Cap, meanwhile, owns a 9.2% stake and has seen two previous takeover proposals rebuffed.

The Times on Saturday reported investor Browning said Countryside would perform better as a privately-owned firm and that it should find a buyer. Browning said that the actions of Countryside's board led to a ‘significant destruction of shareholder value’, the Times reported.

The Times said Browning's founder Usman Nabi called In-Cap a ‘credible bidder’ for Countryside, though did not state whether Browning would back any of In-Cap's previous approaches.

Brentwood-based Countryside last week Monday confirmed that it had received and rejected two takeover proposals from In-Cap.

It said the first offer made by In-Cap was in mid-April, valuing Countryside at 225 pence per share, with a contingent entitlement of up to 59 pence.

The second bid was made in mid-May, for 295 pence per share. Both proposals were subject tot the satisfaction or waiver by In-Cap of several pre-conditions, including the completion of due diligence.

Countryside shares were 1.3% higher at 286.40p each in London on Monday morning, giving it a market capitalisation of £1.43 billion.

In-Cap said on Monday: ‘In-Cap is supportive of any proposal from shareholders that the board of Countryside run a formal sale process for the company and would welcome the opportunity to participate in any such process.’

In-Cap currently owns 45.8 million shares in Countryside, reflecting a 9.2% interest in the group.

In-Cap Managing Partner Jeffrey Ubben added: ‘We have attempted to engage with the board of Countryside in good faith and have been rebuffed each time despite offering to provide selling shareholders an attractive selling option at a meaningful premium. A robust auction process, with proper due diligence, will allow In-Cap to put its best foot forward. All other shareholders can decide for themselves from the fully informed options in front of them.’

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