One of the biggest deals in the UK property arena in recent times has brought about the marriage of Beds-based Connells and Essex competitor Countrywide.
The courtship looked doomed in early December but Connells raised the dowry to £130m – a 172 per cent premium – and Countrywide blushed and offered its hand.
The recommended cash offer of 395p a share is a significant hike on the original Countrywide stock value at 145p per share last November. The union is expected to be consummated in the first quarter of this year.
All of Countrywide’s lenders will be repaid in full and Connells will provide additional investment in Countrywide’s technology, branch network and people. The vision is to stabilise and enhance Countrywide’s business for the benefit of customers, employees and other stakeholders.
David Livesey, Connells Group chief executive, said: “Our revised offer of 395 pence per Countywide share provides shareholders with a 172 per cent premium to the unaffected price and has received strong shareholder support including by way of irrevocable undertakings from major Countrywide shareholders. We believe that the Acquisition is a great deal for all stakeholders.
“Our primary motivation for the acquisition is to invest in and grow the Countrywide business. We believe that we have the right management team, strategy and investment firepower to work with the talented teams at Countrywide and lead it into a bright future.”