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Crest Nicholson rejects two takeover proposals from Bellway

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 14 Jun 2024

Crest Nicholson rejects two takeover proposals from Bellway

(Sharecast News) - Crest Nicholson confirmed on Friday that it had rejected two, unsolicited takeover approaches from Bellway, the latest valuing the group at about £650m.
Under the terms of the latest offer, received on 7 May, Crest shareholders would receive 0.093 new ordinary shares in Bellway for each of their shares.

This represents an implied value of 253p per Crest Nicholson share, which is a premium of about 18.8% to the closing share price on Thursday.

"The board of Crest Nicholson evaluated the revised proposal with its financial advisers and concluded that it significantly undervalued Crest Nicholson and its future standalone prospects and was not in the best interests of Crest Nicholson's shareholders," it said.

"The board therefore unanimously rejected the revised proposal on 14 May 2024."

Crest Nicholson said Bellway made an initial approach on 25 April, which would have seen shareholders receive 0.089 new ordinary shares.

The housebuilder said it remains confident in its standalone prospects, "in particular given conclusion of the review of provisions for completed development sites supported by external consultants, its highly attractive land portfolio and the new leadership of Martyn Clark".

News of the takeover proposals came just hours after Crest Nicholson slashed its interim dividend payment after swinging to a loss in the first half, and downgraded its profit guidance for the full year.

The housebuilder cut its adjusted pre-tax profit guidance for the year to the end of October 2024 to between £22m and £29m, from earlier guidance of £45m to £50m, and £41.4m last year.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "A clever strategy is to make acquisitions when times are hard. Exploit an opportunity to buy a rival, increase scale and reap the benefits once market conditions improve.

"Bellway is trying to do just that, with its eyes firmly fixed on Crest Nicholson. The offer price hasn't quite hit the mark so the next step is to do the M&A dance and keep coming back with a more generous bid until it gets the deal over the line.

"Crest Nicholson's profit warning yesterday made for miserable reading so its investors might welcome a nice bid premium to dig them out of a hole."

At 0940 BST, Crest Nicholson shares were up 7.6% at 229p, while Bellway shares were down 3.1% at 2,634p.

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