Stephen Wicks, who founded C&M in 1990, pockets £10m as he sells firm to private housebuilder
Housebuilder Country & Metropolitan’s founder and chief executive Stephen Wicks was this week £10m richer after selling the business to private national housebuilder Gladedale.
Wicks, who had an 11.5% stake, pocketed the fortune when shareholders voted in favour of a £72m takeover, representing an offer of 300p a share.
Wicks said he had “mixed feelings” about the sale, having built up the firm since 1990, but added that it was a great result for shareholders and C&M staff.
“The approach was unexpected, but after a month of negotiation and after sounding out our institutional shareholders we felt the price fully reflected the value of the business,” he said.
The two companies complement one another: Gladedale is in Epsom, Surrey, but 80% of C&M’s business is in northern England. Gladedale does have a big presence in the North but the takeover will give it a greater exposure.
Nishith Malde, Wicks and C&M finance director, intends to stay on for three months to help with the transitional phase. Wickes is also staying on for a short time to assist the changeover but added: “After that, I’ll be going on holiday. I don’t know what I’ll be doing next, but I intend to stay in the sector.”
The newly formed company, which is expected to have a combined turnover of £500m, will be run by Gladedale chairman and chief executive Remo Dipre. Dipre said that the takeover represented a “substantial addition” to the Gladedale group. “It further continues our ambitious plans of expanding our operational activities throughout the UK,” he said.
C&M is the third quoted housebuilder to be snapped up by Gladedale in five years. It acquired Furlong Homes in June 2004, expanding its presence in central London and the South-east, and Bett Homes in May 2003, boosting its exposure in Scotland and northern England.
Gladedale is also understood to have approached Countryside Properties last year, but the approach was rejected.
C&M published its interim results last week. Pre-tax profit rose 25% to £7.5m, on a £37.1m turnover, a rise of 15%.
C&M and Gladedale: How they compare
Country & Metropolitan
- Founded in 1990
- Floated on stock exchange in 1999
- Number of staff: c. 300
- Chief executive: Stephen Wicks
- Majority of business in north of England, brownfield development
- Interim pre-tax profit: £6m (+25%)
- Interim turnover: £37m (+15%)
- Founded in 1996, privately owned
- Number of staff: c. 700
- Chief executive: Remo Dipre
- National business, big presence in Scotland, new-build work, regeneration, refurbishment
- Pre-tax profit 2004: £40m (+97%)
- Turnover 2004: £341m (+47%)