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US private equity firm, Lone Star Real Estate Fund VI have agreed to acquire McCarthy & Stone plc at 115 pence per share, valuing the retirement home builder at £630 million.
The offer represents a 38.6% premium to McCarthy & Stone’s closing price as of 22 October 2020 (being the last date before the announcement). However, this remains below pre-pandemic levels, with shares trading at 158 pence in mid-February.
The retirement home builder has taken significant hits due to the pandemic, which caused its shares to drop as low as 40 pence per share in March, following a post-election bounce in January and February. In its half year results, the company reported a statutory operating loss of £89.2 million, compared to a statutory operating profit of £6 million in 2019, and an underlying operating loss of £24.8 million (against an underlying operating profit of £21.3 million in 2019), primarily owing to lower levels of completion in light of the pandemic. The turbulent conditions led to the company taking a number of measures including cancelling its final year dividend for 2019, furloughing staff and the Board and leadership teams taking a 20% salary cut.
The Board also concluded that there is little visibility as to the expected outturn for 2020 due to the ‘significant levels of ongoing uncertainty’, resulting from the outcome of Brexit negotiations and the impact of the pandemic. As such, the Board have recommended the offer as fair and reasonable ‘given the balance of future opportunities and risks facing the business’.
Commenting on the offer, McCarthy & Stone Chair, Paul Lester stated:
‘The all-cash offer represents a compelling and attractive opportunity for shareholders to realise and crystallise their investment in McCarthy & Stone in the near term and also provides a meaningful premium to the prevailing share price notwithstanding the backdrop of the wider risks posed by the political and macroeconomic environment.’
News of the offer saw McCarthy & Stones share price jump up 40%, closing at 115.8 pence per share.
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