Connells has begun buying up the shares belonging to the key investors in Countrywide as it begins its acquisition of the company.
The includes, yesterday, its purchase of the 5.85% portion held by Schroder Investments, representing some 1.92 million shares.
Therefore, Connells now owns or has received ‘irrevocable support’ for the acquisition of the company from Countrywide shareholders in respect of 17,166,670 Countrywide shares.
This represents approximately 52.30 per cent. of the existing issued ordinary share capital of the company.
This means the Alchemy’s attempt to buy Countrywide is dead in the water and Connells has told The Negotiator that it is now waiting for the only remaining major shareholder to have promised Alchemy its support, Brandes, to withdraw its ‘letter of intent’, and that it does not foresee any further complications.
This will add a further 1.99 million shares to the Connells pot, taking its share of Countrywide’s stock to 60%, with other smaller investors in the firm likely to follow suit in the coming days.
Some of these smaller investors, who bought shares at a much higher price in the past, had hoped that Brandes could hold out for a better deal than the £3.95 per share being offered by Connells for Countrywide, but this now seems doubtful, and the acquisition is likely to go through next week.
The markets appear to agree with this scenario – Countrywide’s share priced has been riding high at £3.91p since Monday, its highest price for 18 months.
Prior to its slow fall from grace in 2016, shares in Countrywide were trading at over £16. At £3.95 a share, Connells purchase of Countrywide values the company at £129.5 million.