Delancey adds 25% to bid for Greycoat

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DELANCEY ESTATES, the property company controlled by financier George Soros and Jamie Ritblat, son of British Land's John Ritblat, yesterday raised its hostile bid for rival Greycoat by 25 per cent to pounds 263m.

The bid, which valued the shares at 242p, was immediately rejected as unsatisfactory by Greycoat. It offers 2.25 new Delancey shares for every Greycoat share or 121p in cash plus 1.125 new Delancey shares for every Greycoat share.

Earlier in the day Delancey revealed it was raising up to pounds 20m cash through a share subscription Royal Bank of Scotland, which has bought a 4.7 per cent stake in the group for pounds 8.2m. It follows Delancey's pounds 211m all-paper bid in March which was pitched at 194p and spurred Greycoat into putting the company up for sale.

Michael Beckett, chairman of Greycoat, said: "We consider Delancey's revision today to be very disappointing and unsatisfactory. "

Analysts said the new offer was still unlikely to succeed. However, Ritblat's group has indicated it is prepared to increase the stakes further, raising the possibility of a bidding war which could last months.

Delancey chief executive Jamie Ritblat said: "This is our best and final offer but we reserve the position to see what occurs on 19 May [when the tender offer closes]."

A source close to Delancey pointed out the group, which owns a stake of nearly 10 per cent in Greycoat was in a "win-win" situation. Since Delancey launched its bid the Greycoat share price has risen from 168.5p to close up another 1p at 240p yesterday. "The whole process involves a bit of liar's poker," the source said.