Housebuilding behemoth born after two giants combine

Vistry Group, formerly Bovis Homes, has purchased struggling Countryside in a deal worth £1.25 billion.

house building
Two of the biggest housebuilders have combined after Vistry bought Countryside in a share and cash takeover worth £1.25 billion.

The new company brings Countryside together with Vistry’s well-known brands Bovis Homes and Linden Homes.

Greg Fitzgerald Vistry image
Greg Fitzgerald, CEO, Vistry

Vistry CEO Greg Fitzgerald will lead the company with Countryside’s CFO Tim Lawlor, taking on the same role as part of the new management team.

Countryside will bring its expertise in partnering with housing associations to build affordable housing, Vistry says, to add to its own strength in developing private homes.

The combination would create one of the country’s leading homebuilders.”

After a profit warning earlier this year, Countryside chief executive Iain McPherson left the role. It had previously rejected two offers from Including Capital Partners, but accepted the third Vistry bid with a 9% premium on top of its share price of 228p.

“The combination would create one of the country’s leading homebuilders, comprising a top tier housebuilder and a leading partnerships business, with capability across all housing tenures, and delivering much needed affordable housing,” a spokesperson for the newly-formed company says.

Combined strength

Fitzgerald was responsible for overseeing the £1.1 billion acquisition of Linden Homes and Vistry Partnerships (then known as Galliford Try Partnerships) in 2020 to form the Vistry Group.

He says: “The proposed combination will add the strength of the Countryside brand to Vistry’s own well-established Bovis Homes and Linden Homes brands, and will leverage the skills and market knowledge of both the Countryside and Vistry teams.”

Douglas Hurt, Chairman, Countryside

Douglas Hurt, Chairman of Countryside, says: “The combination will create a leading, enlarged partnerships business and is an opportunity to leverage both Countryside’s brand and place-making experience with the growing Vistry partnerships business, alongside Vistry’s established housebuilding business.”

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