Jupiter to take Minerva private

Marion Dakers
EMBATTLED property developer Minerva is to leave the London Stock Exchange after most of its investors accepted a cash takeover offer that values the firm at £202m.

Jupiter Properties 2011, a special purpose vehicle set up by Area Property Partners and Delancey, yesterday said it had approval from 91 per cent of Minerva investors.

This sum includes unvested shares pledged by Minerva directors under their long-term incentive plans.

The sale brings to an end Minerva’s turbulent relationship with biggest shareholder Nathan Kirsch, who mounted his own, unsuccessful, takeover bid in 2009 and has been a long-time critic of the group’s strategy. It emerged yesterday that his stake has been sold to Jupiter after months of holding out, taking the suitor comfortably above the 75 per cent acceptance threshold needed for the takeover to progress.

The South African billionaire’s KiFin vehicle was not thought to be among the interested potential bidders this time around.

Despite investor criticism of the current management team, led by chief executive Salmaan Hasan, it is understood that Jupiter has no plans to make sweeping changes to the top team once the firm is taken private. However, talks are ongoing about the make-up of the board.

Minerva, which had debts of £859m at the end of last year, has been pursued by a number of suitors after encountering problems with its pricey new developments in the City.

The 410,000 square foot Walbrook (pictured left) remains empty almost 18 months after completion.

Jupiter Properties is advised by Alex Midgen and Richard Blackwell of NM Rothschild, alongside Fraser Greenshield, Tim Medak and Mark Harrison of Ernst & Young.