HOUSEBUILDER Fairview Holdings' plan for a management buyout hit another snag this week when independent directors rejected an offer of 175p a share as too low.
Michael Whittles and Peter Hardy said they could not recommend the bid as they believed the firm was worth more.

Hardy said discussions were still taking place with the management team, headed by chairman Dennis Cope, but they had not received a response to their statement rejecting the offer. "This is a complicated process. I would not expect a response immediately," he said.

Neither Hardy or Whittles would indicate what price shareholders would be prepared to accept, but one City source said they could be holding out for 200p. "They may not consider 175p a share to be a fair price compared with the assets the firm has in its current landbank," he said.

Analysts said the deal seemed to be doomed because of the continual setbacks. One said: "If they fail twice it is going to look really bad."

The management team had an offer of 170p a share rejected last month.

Whittles rejected reports that Fairview could not afford to increase the bid. He said: "We believe the bid does not compare well with other recent management buyouts but it is a very strong business. If the buyout team could not afford it then our conclusions would be wrong."