Crest Nicholson won’t enter talks on merger proposal from Avant Homes

(Reuters) -British homebuilder Crest Nicholson said on Friday it had received a merger proposal from Elliott-backed Avant Homes but added it wouldn’t enter talks while it is in an offer period following Bellway’s takeover bid last month.

Avant’s all-share proposal would see fund manager Elliott take a 30% stake in the merged company, Crest said.

Crest issued its statement after Sky News reported Avant’s approach earlier on Friday.

Crest said it had received other proposals from Avant but none involved a possible takeover offer by the privately-held group.

“The most recent indicative proposal was an all-share acquisition by Crest Nicholson of Avant in consideration for the issue of Crest Nicholson shares to Avant shareholders,” Crest said.

Elliott did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Bellway, whose 650 million pound proposal to buy Crest Nicholson was rejected last month, has until July 11 to make a formal offer or walk away.

Bellway declined to comment on Friday.

A source told Reuters that Avant’s proposed combination would have represented a premium of about 20% to Bellway’s 253 pence-per-share proposal.

Avant is run by former Persimmon chief Jeff Fairburn.

The interest in Crest Nicholson is the latest sign of consolidation in Britain’s homebuilding sector.

In February, Barratt, one of the biggest homebuilders in Britain, agreed to buy Redrow in an all-stock deal, while Vistry bought Countryside in 2022.

($1 = 0.7827 pounds)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee, Maju Samuel and Susan Fenton)


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