Monday 21 October 2019 10:37 am

Capital & Counties share price climbs as property tycoon Nick Candy eyes bid

Shares in Covent Garden owner Capital & Counties jumped this morning after high-end property tycoon Nick Candy confirmed he is considering a possible offer for the group.

Candy Ventures, the investment vehicle owned by Nick Candy, has said it is in early talks for a possible cash off for Capco, which has a market value of roughly £2.1bn.

The London-listed property firm’s share price climbed more than eight per cent on the news this morning.

Read more: Property of the Week

“Such an approach is, in our view, as much an endorsement of Covent Garden as it is an opportunistic tilt at Earls Court – and as such reinforces our view of value in Capco,” said Peel Hunt analysts this morning.

Capco, which is led by Ian Hawksworth, has announced plans to demerge its Covent Garden businesses from the Earls Court development, which has been hampered by a long-running dispute with the local council.

Candy, who developed the luxury One Hyde Park complex with his brother Christian, has held early-stage discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund about a joint bid for Capco, the Sunday Times first reported.

Capco has suffered a huge writedown on the value of its development scheme at Earls Court, while Hammersmith & Fulham council is mulling a compulsory purchase order amid concerns about Capco’s ability to manage the project.

The site, which has been earmarked for thousands of new luxury homes, is now worth just £412m, down from a valuation of £759m last year.

Shares in Capco have almost halved since their high in 2015, and the row has also cost Capco its investment chief Gary Yardley, who stepped down in June.

Read more: Housing market uncertainty persists

In September Capco said it had put its demerger plans on hold while it explored a potential sale of the Earls Court site. Canary Wharf Group is said to be in talks about a takeover, while Here East and Olympic Village owner Delancey is also thought to be circling.

A sale would allow Capco to refocus its efforts on its 1.2m square feet property portfolio in Covent Garden. The holdings, which include Apple’s store and Balthazar restaurant, are valued at more than £2.6bn.