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As UK market freezes, Dubai’s Limitless spots a $480m opportunity

June 10, 2008 10:00 by

uk property, minerva, limitless, dubai world, deals, dubai, businessAs the UK property market stiffens (average house prices were down $8,000 in May, and $600m was wiped from the market value of the country’s seven biggest homebuilders), Limitless, the property arm of Dubai World, senses an opportunity. It has tabled an approximate $480m bid to buy Minerva, the troubled property company.

The Daily Telegraph says Limitless recently submitted a takeover proposal that values Minerva at 140p-150p a share. The approach, which values Minerva’s equity at $450m-$480m, comes after the property developer said last month that “it has received no proposal from Limitless and therefore has nothing to respond to”.

At the time, Limitless said it was “in the very preliminary stages of considering its options in respect of Minerva”. The board is now weighing up whether it should accept Limitless’s proposal, the paper says.

When Limitless made its announcement in May, shares in Minerva rallied to 116.75p. However, yesterday the shares fell 0.5 to 91.25p, giving the company a market value of $295m.

Minerva’s shares, which last June were trading as high as 423p, have collapsed over the past year as investors have become worried about the company’s debts and the state of the commercial property market.

Minerva owns three development schemes, each of which has been approved. Two of these developments are located in London’s financial centre, The City of London - St. Botolphs and The Walbrook. The third, Park Place, will be one of the UK’s largest shopping centers, located in Croydon, Greater London.

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