Minerva gets £194m cash takeover bid

Steve Dinneen
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TROUBLED property developer Minerva yesterday confirmed it has received a preliminary cash offer valuing it at £194m.

The bid for the Walbrook developer is from a consortium of firms led by Jamie Ritblat’s Delancey Real Estate Asset Management.

One Minerva investor told City A.M. the bid is “an interesting offer”, saying: “Something has to happen soon, it has to either sell or launch a rights issue. There have been all sorts of rumours about a counter bid but this is the only thing on the table.”

Minerva, which is saddled with debts of almost £860m, says the offer is a 21.4 per cent premium to its pre-announcement closing price of 99.25p and a 53.5 per cent premium to its price before it informed the market it was involved in takeover talks.

Minerva has agreed to pay almost £2m to the group if it backs out of the deal or its board votes it down.

The market was yesterday waiting for a possible counter bid. Rebel shareholder KiFin, the firm led by the South African property investor Nathan Kirsh who launched a failed bid and later a boardroom coup at Minerva last year, is seen as a possible rival. Others include Dubai-based investor Limitless and Iranian property entrepreneur David Shamoon.

However, shares in Minerva closed up 14.6 per cent to 113.75p yesterday, below the proposed cash bid of 120.5p – suggesting the market did not expect a counter bid.

A London-based analyst, who declined to be named, said the share price reflected uncertainty over how long the offer process would take and whether the bidder would get concessions from Minerva’s banks on its debt facilities.

Minerva’s debt pile relates to two large office developments, the Walbrook and St Botolphs – both of which have struggled to find tenants large enough to satisfy the conditions laid down by Minerva’s banks.




GREENHILL is financial adviser to Minerva. Heading up the team is co-head of European corporate advisory Brian Cassin.

Cassin joined Greenhill in 1998 after working for six years with Baring Brothers International in London and New York and four years with the London Stock Exchange. Cassin has long been involved with Minerva, advising it on its long-running negotiations with KiFin. This included advising on KiFin’s offer for the company, which the board rejected.

He also advised Emerson on its bid for UK power protection group Chloride and was involved in media group DMGT’s agreement to sell Study Group International to funds advised by CHAMP private equity.

Joint corporate brokers are Citi and Peel Hunt, where Capel Irwin is heading up the team. Irwin last year led the charge in the corporate broking team for Hansteen Holdings acquisition of a German industrial property portfolio for £330m.

Rothschild is financial adviser on the other side of the bid, with Alex Midgen and Richard Blackwell working on the deal.