Would-be buyer now has until 8 August to make official bid

Crest Nicholson’s board is ‘minded to recommend’ Bellway’s latest £720m takeover to its shareholders if the rival housebuilder makes a firm offer by early next month.

Earlier this year, Crest Nicholson announced it had rejected two takeover offers from Bellway, claiming the proposed £650m deal “significantly undervalued” the £900m turnover business. 

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Only last week, Crest Nicholson revealed it had rejected an approach from Avant Homes, a housebuilder run by former Persimmon boss Jeff Fairburn. 

But today, a market update revealed that Bellway had submitted a revised non-binding all-share offer to Crest Nicholson’s board on 3 July, after firther discussion between the two housebuilders.

The board of Crest Nicholson has confirmed to Bellway that the revised proposal is at a value that it would be minded to recommend unanimously to shareholders should a firm intention to make an offer be announced. 

In order to undertake proper due diligence, Bellway has been granted permission to extend the deadline to confirm their offer to 8 August. 

Under the terms of this latest offer, Crest Nicholson shareholders would receive 0.099 shares in Bellway for each share they own, with an implied value of 273 pence per share and a premium of around 28.3%. 

Shareholders would also receive a dividend of 4 pence per share, comprising the previously annouonced interim dividiend of 1 pence per share and a special dividend of 3 pence per share. 

Under the revised proposal, which is subject to several pre-conditions including due diligence, Crest Nicholson’s shareholders would hold 18 per cent. of the enlarged group’s issued and to be issued share capital. 

Bellway said the merger would deliver operational benefits and the ability to open dual outlets on at least 10 current and future Crest Nicholson sites. It intends to retain its rival’s brand across the enlarged group, including on Bellway sites. 

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Crest Nicholson made a £31m pre-tax loss on reduced revenue in the six months to April 2024, compared with a £28m profit the previous year. 

Bellway recently announced it was “on track” to deliver 7,500 homes this financial year, with improved affordability having yielded a strong spring selling season. It is one of eight housebuilders being probed by the Competition and Markets Authority over alleged “anti-competitive behaviour” 

A merger of Bellway and Crest Nicholson would create a business with a turnover of £4.3bn, which ould make it the second largest according to Building’s annual Top 50 Housebuilders ranking.