Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Another day, another M&A deal in the London market

The latest transaction will see property developer Quintain taken private for by US private equity group Lone Star for 122p a share or almost £700 million.

I am, though, getting seriously worried we could be reaching the peak of this latest bull market as the last time somebody tried take Quintain private it was literally to the top of the last bull/credit market.

For younger readers that don't recall, Paul Kemsley - yes remember him, Lord Sugar's mate - built up a leveraged 10pc plus position in Quintain.

In one of his smarter trades Kemsley, a wide boy property developer with a penchant for talking straight, then sold his stake to HBOS.

HBOS, which by this time had decided to pursue a strategy of buying any property-related company it could get its hands on, then tried to approach Quintain about a takeover. That was in the summer of 2007 when Quintain's shares were trading at almost £10.00! Yes, that's right - £10.00.

And we all know what happened next: the following year HBOS had to be bailed out by the British taxpayer and Kemsley disappeared to the US after his "property investments" turned sour.

Still, at 122p a share I guess Lone Star might have wangled a decent deal but let's not forget Quintain had to carry out a deeply discounted rights in 2009, raising almost £200 million at 49p to shore up its balance sheet and sidestep a major financial restructuring.

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