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Mon 21 Oct 2019 02:53 PM

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Candy in talks with Saudi fund as it mulls move for UK developer

Candy reportedly in early stage talks with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund about a joint move to take over CapCo

Candy in talks with Saudi fund as it mulls move for UK developer

Candy is the developer responsible for the luxury One Hyde Park apartments in London’s Belgravia neighbourhood.

A group led by luxury property developer Nicholas Candy is considering making an offer for Capital & Counties Properties, whose stock has cratered amid London prime real esate’s longest slump in decades.

Capco’s shares rose 8 percent in London on Monday, valuing the firm at £2.3 billion ($2.8 billion). The stock had lost nearly half its value from its 2015 peak before today’s gains as the company struggled to find buyers for its holdings in the Earls Court district of London.

Candy has held early stage talks with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund about a joint move to take over CapCo, the Sunday Times reported over the weekend. Nicholas and his brother Christian are the developers responsible for the Qatari-backed luxury One Hyde Park apartments in London’s Belgravia neighbourhood.

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There’s no certainty that an offer will be made, according to a statement on Monday from Candy Ventures, the investment company controlled by Nicholas. The group will make an announcement by November 18 of its intention.

CapCo has struggled with its Earls Court holdings as London’s prime real estate market endures the longest slump in decades. Independent valuers have cut the price of land in the capital’s upmarket district since 2015. The company has been weighing the sale of the land, which has planning permission for about 7,500 homes, but so far the bids have all come in below book value.

CapCo said in July it planned to spin off its holdings in the London tourist and shopping haven of Covent Garden as a separate listed company after it couldn’t find buyers for its assets in the Earls Court district. The separation is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The value of Capco’s stake in land in the Earls Court district was £389 million as of June 30, down 15.9 percent from December.

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