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Mon July 22 2024

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Crest Nicholson parks Avant bid pending new Bellway offer

8 Jul The board of Crest Nicholson has rejected an approach from rival house-builder Avant Homes while Bellway remains in play.

Avant Homes offered the Crest Nicholson board a £770m deal that would give Avant shareholders, including main shareholder Elliott Investment Management and former Persimmon chief executive Jeff Fairburn, 30% of the enlarged group and retain Crest’s stock exchange listing.

The board of Crest Nicholson evaluated the Avant proposal with its financial advisers, Barclays and Jefferies, and concluded it was not ready to engage in discussions with Avant while in an offer period in relation to a possible all-share offer from Bellway.

Bellway revealed last month that it had had two takeover approaches to Crest Nicholson rebuffed, the latter worth £650m. [See previous report here.] Under stock exchange rules, Bellway has until 5pm on 11th July 2024 (Thursday), either to announce a firm intention to make an offer for Crest Nicholson or to publicly walk away.

Only after then, it seems, might Avant’s offer be back on the table.

Last month Crest Nicholson reported a pre-tax loss of £30.9m for the six months to 30th April 20243 after a review of completed site costs resulted in a one-off charge of £31.4m. Chief executive Peter Truscott retired and was replaced by Martyn Clark, formerly chief commercial officer of Persimmon, where he worked alongside Jeff Fairburn, now of Avant.

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