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Housebuilder Countryside puts itself on the market after investor pressure

·1-min read

Housebuilder Countryside has put itself up for sale weeks after rejecting a takeover bid.

Countryside Partnerships told shareholders on Monday it has hired advisers from Rothschild & Co to oversee the potential sale process.

Last month, Countryside rebuffed a £1.5 billion move by San Francisco-based investment fund Inclusive Capital Partners (In-Cap), one of the company’s largest shareholders, which it claimed “materially undervalued” the firm.

Since the rejection, the Brentwood-based company has come under pressure from its investors to push for a sale.

“A meaningful number of shareholders believe that the company would be in a better position to capitalise on the opportunities ahead as a privately-owned company or as part of a larger business and have asked the board to actively seek offers for the company,” it said.

It said it has therefore decided to launch a process to establish “whether there is a bidder prepared to offer a value that the board considers compelling relative to the long-term standalone prospects of Countryside”.

Countryside told shareholders that the preparations for the sale process are expected to take a number of months.

The company said that Jeffrey Ubben-founded In-Cap is expected to take part in the sale process.

Nevertheless, analysts have predicted significant interest from other parties as part of the process.

Sam Cullen, equity analyst at Peel Hunt, said: “The sales process is likely to take a number of months and we would expect to see interest from PE (private equity), specialist investors and the wider peer group”.

Countryside shares moved 0.5% lower in early trading despite the announcement.

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