Merged housebuilder to start trading shares from Monday

The £1.2bn merger between Vistry and Countryside announced in September has legally completed today, following legal approval of the deal in the High Court yesterday.

Vistry Pinhoe

Vistry scheme in Pinhoe

The deal went through when a copy of the court order received yesterday was delivered to the Registrar of Companies of England and Wales, with shares in the combined company set to start trading from Monday.

Countryside said in a statement to the City late yesterday that the High Court had “today sanctioned the scheme of arrangement […] by which the recommended cash and share combination of Countryside and Vistry, pursuant to which Vistry will acquire the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Countryside […], is being implemented.”

As a result of yesterday’s approval shares in Countryside have today been suspended from the Stock Exchange, pending their complete removal when the merger goes through on Monday.

The deal creates a £3bn-turnover housebuilding and partnerships housing giant, which Vistry chief executive Greg Fitzgerald said in September had a “highly compelling strategic rationale”.


Greg Fitzgerald said the deal had a compelling strategic rationale

Yesterday’s High Court approval for the deal comes after Vistry shareholders voted through the deal on 1 November, with 76% of share owners in the firm backing the merger between the two businesses.

The timeline of the buyout, for which Vistry will pay £300m in cash and the rest in shares, was set out in a prospectus last month, which put the “scheme effective date” for the merger as November 11.

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Fitzgerald has committed to retaining the Countryside brand when the deal goes ahead, and Tim Lawlor, currently chief financial officer of Countryside, will take the same role at Vistry when the deal goes through, with Vistry’s existing CFO, Earl Sibley, promoted to Chief Operating Officer.

The combination will create the UK’s largest partnerships housing business.