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UK housebuilder Countryside puts itself up for sale as shareholder pressure mounts

·1-min read

(Reuters) - Countryside Partnerships is putting itself up for sale, the British homebuilder said on Monday, as pressure from shareholders mounts after it turned down a $1.9-billion bid from San-Francisco based investor Inclusive Capital(In-Cap).

The company said its third-largest shareholder In-Cap will participate in the formal sale process, and it is currently not in talks with any other potential suitor.

Countryside in late May rejected In-Cap's 295-pence a share proposal as it "undervalued" the company.

A "significant" number of shareholders believe that the company would be in better position as a privately owned company or part of a larger business, Countryside said on Monday.

The London-listed firm, which had warned of lower annual profit in April, said it was committed to continuing as an independent listed company if a suitable offer is not received.

Countryside said it was also suspending its share buyback programme where in it intended to return cash of at least 450 million pounds to shareholders, until the formal sale process is completed or terminated.

Earlier this month, U.S.-based activist fund Browning West – the biggest shareholder in Countryside – had urged the board to find a buyer and to include In-Cap in the sale process.

(Reporting by Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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