The deed is done. After months of wrangling and nearly open warfare between different shareholder groups, Connells has bought Countrywide.
At a court-sanctioned meeting yesterday known as a scheme of arrangement under Part 26 of the Companies Act, the necessary 75% majority of shareholders was secured by Connells to push through the deal.
A statement released by both companies says: “Countrywide is pleased to announce that, at the Court Meeting and General Meeting held earlier today in connection with the Acquisition, the requisite majority of Scheme Shareholders voted to approve the Scheme at the Court Meeting.
“Also, the requisite majority of Countrywide shareholders voted to pass the Special Resolution to implement the Scheme, including the amendment of Countrywide’s articles of association, at the General Meeting.”
Dissent was minimal among shareholders despite some speculation last week that a City asset stripper might make a late bid to offer a hostile bid make under-cut Connells offer to shareholders.
Some 322 shareholders voted in favour of the Connells purchase with just 18 voting against. Together these shareholders hold some 21.12 million shares eligible within the scheme.
Only one potential obstacle remains in the way of the deal outside of today’s votes – approval by the two key regulators of takeovers – the Financial Conduct Authority and the Competition and Markets Authority.
But approval from both organisations is though to be a formality.
At the end of 2020 Countrywide agreed to an offer by Connells of 395 pence per share after initially offering £2.50 a share, the latter offer valuing the company at £223.1 million. The takeover will become effective at the end of March.