Housebuilder nears £584m asset disposal

 
Marion Dakers
HOUSEBUILDER Taylor Wimpey is in the final stages of selling its Northern American businesses, City A.M. can confirm, with a handful of bidders left in the running.

US peer Meritage Homes placed a bid for the firm before Friday’s deadline, a source familiar with the deal said yesterday, while privately-held Canadian firm Mattamy Homes is also understood to be involved in the sale talks.

However, one person said last night that Taylor Wimpey could still delay the sale as it looks to get the best price.

Analysts covering London-listed Taylor Wimpey have estimated the book value of Taylor Morrison and Monarch Corporation at $950m (£584m). The firms have a total of 25,000 lots across the United States and Canada, with the land bank alone said to be worth almost $800m.

Bookrunner JP Morgan is thought to have rejected a bid from one private builder for offering too little for the assets.

Rain Tree, run by hedge fund billionaire John Paulson, and Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital also placed bids for the bundle of assets before the Friday deadline.

Taylor Wimpey put the companies on the block in November as a way of reducing debt and regaining focus on UK operations.

Meritage Homes declined to comment last night, while Taylor Wimpey and Mattamy Homes could not be reached.

Taylor Wimpey’s shares yesterday closed up 4.6 per cent at 39.5p.

FAST FACTS | TAYLOR WIMPEY

FTSE 250-listed Taylor Wimpey put its North American assets up for sale last year to help cuts its £660m debt pile.

The housebuilder has said it expects margin growth rather than more home sales in 2011.