Joe Lewis team nets £10m bid windfall

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The Independent Online

Joe Lewis and partners will pocket a £10m profit after last night dropping a planned counter-bid for Countryside Properties, the house builder. The Lewis team, which has a 13.5 per cent shareholding in Countryside, has instead accepted an increased £222m offer tabled by management.

Joe Lewis and partners will pocket a £10m profit after last night dropping a planned counter-bid for Countryside Properties, the house builder. The Lewis team, which has a 13.5 per cent shareholding in Countryside, has instead accepted an increased £222m offer tabled by management.

Mr Lewis, a billionaire based in the Bahamas who made his fortune in currency speculation, had put together a bid vehicle, Rock Pacific, and became Countryside's biggest shareholder. Also involved in Rock were his business associates, Paul Kemsley, a property entrepreneur, and Daniel Levy, the businessman behind Enic, which owns stakes in a clutch of European football clubs.

Countryside's management, led by its chairman Alan Cherry, had tabled a recommended 275p-a-share offer in November to take it private. Rock then began aggressively building up a stake in Countryside, which got up to 13.5 per cent of the company, saying Mr Cherry's offer was inadequate and vowed to put together a better bid.

Mr Cherry's bid company, Copthorn, announced yesterday that it had raised its offer to 280p-a-share, which was again recommended by Countryside's independent directors.

Last night, Rock accepted the improved Copthorn offer. In doing so, Rock said that due diligence had revealed Countryside was not as attractive an opportunity as it had thought.

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