US-based manufactured home company Hometown Corporation has made an AUD635m (€409m) cash bid for Australia’s Gateway Lifestyle Group.

Hometown, which is backed by Calzada Capital Partners, a global real estate private equity firm, is offering AUD2.10 for each of Gateway’s issued shares.

Gateway said the non-binding proposal was to take control of the company by way of schemes of arrangement. This implies a court-approved agreement between Gateway and its shareholders or creditors.

But it has not yet agreed to give Hometown access to do due diligence on its business.

Industry sources said Hometown had entered into pre-bid agreements with four Australian fund managers to buy their stakes, which will collectively give the suitor a 17.5% interest in Gateway.

Gateway’s directors said the Hometown proposal is subject to a number of conditions and Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

The board of Gateway Lifestyle was focussed on maximising value for shareholders and had commenced a detailed assessment of the proposal, directors said.

Hometown has sought a four-week exclusivity period to conduct its due diligence on Gateway, which operates communities along Australia’s Eastern seaboard.

Hometown America, founded in 1997, operates more than 60 residential land lease communities across 11 states in the US. Its portfolio of assets is valued in excess of US$3bn (€2.6bn).

Hometown first established its presence in Australia last year and has since built up a portfolio of some 950 home sites valued at around AUD100m. The operation has been re-badged as Hometown Australia Holdings.