Sources have confirmed Varde will not expect the housebuilder to relinquish its 10% stake
The management of Crest Nicholson looks set to hold on to its 10% stake in the business despite a move by US investor Varde to take over the housebuilder.
The housebuilder, which builds 1,600 homes a year, told its remaining investors and lenders last week that Varde now owns 80% of the firm. This means Varde has passed the 75% milestone that allows it to force those investors to sell up.
If the remaining investors and lender do not sell up in the next few weeks, Crest will issue a “scheme of arrangement” through the courts that will force them to sell at a pre-determined price, leaving Varde owning all of the equity as well as Crest’s £500m debt.
Varde is then expected to restructure this debt through a debt for equity swap, which gives it room to grow.
However, sources close to the business confirmed Varde will not expect the current management of Crest, led by chief executive Stephen Stone, to relinquish its 10% stake.
Varde, which is run by American merchant banker George Hicks, paid a rumoured £150m for the 30% stake in Crest owned by Lloyds HBOS last autumn, and has subsequently bought out other investors who have been reluctant to engage in a full debt restructure.