Source - Alliance News

Countryside Partnerships PLC on Monday said it has opened a formal sales process, looking for a potential buyer, following one bid approach and shareholder feedback.

The Brentwood, England-based housebuilder and urban regeneration firm said it will suspend its share buyback programme during the sale process.

A ‘meaningful’ number of shareholders believe Countryside would be in a better position as a privately-owned company, or as part of a larger business, the FTSE 250 constituent said.

Late last month, Countryside said it had received and rejected two takeover proposals from its largest shareholder, San Francisco-based investor Inclusive Capital Partners LP.

The second offer valued Countryside at 295 pence per share, a 24% premium to Countryside's closing price of 238.60 on May 27. Countryside shares traded at 283.96 pence on Monday morning, down 0.6%.

Inclusive Capital, which holds about 15% of Countryside shares, indicated it will take part in the formal sale process, Countryside said on Monday. Countryside said it is not currently in discussions with any other potential offerer.

Talks with any interested third parties will take place within the context of a formal sale process, Countryside said, but bidders will not be required to be publicly identified and will not be subject to a 28 day deadline while they are taking part in the process.

Inclusive Capital had called for a sale process to be put in place.

In last week, Inclusive Capital said: ‘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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