UK housebuilder Vistry is buying rival firm Countryside in a £1.25bn (€1.48bn) deal.

The two London-listed companies have reached an agreement on the terms of a recommended cash and share combination pursuant to Countryside shareholders will receive 0.255 of a new Vistry share plus 60p cash for each Countryside share they hold. Vistry’s shares last closed at 741p.

The offer, which is subject to approvals, represents a 9.1% premium to Countryside’s shares’ last closing price of 228p.

The combined group will be led by Vistry’s CEO, Greg Fitzgerald. Ralph Findlay, Vistry’s non-executive chairman, will assume the chairmanship of the combined group.

Countryside, which had a £1.14bn market capitalisation at its last close, operates a mixed-tenure partnership model, developing sites with a mix of private, affordable and private rental units.

Vistry, which was formed in January 2020, comprises Bovis Homes, Linden Homes and Vistry Partnerships. Vistry has a £1.6bn market capitalisation. The business has national coverage with 13 operating regions, each targeting annual output of between 550 and 625 units including joint ventures, giving an overall volume capacity for housebuilding of more than 8,000 units.

Fitzgerald said: “This proposed combination has a highly compelling strategic rationale. It will create a leader in the partnerships housing sector, with the scale and expertise to accelerate profitable growth across both partnerships and housebuilding, and expand the delivery of much-needed affordable housing across England.

“The proposed combination will add the strength of the Countryside brand to Vistry’s own well-established Bovis Homes and Linden Homes brands and will leverage the skills and market knowledge of both the Countryside and Vistry teams.”

Douglas Hurt, the chairman of Countryside, said: “The combination will create a leading, enlarged partnerships business and is an opportunity to leverage both Countryside’s brand and place-making experience with the growing Vistry partnerships business, alongside Vistry’s established housebuilding business.

“The scale of the Combined Group will enable the delivery of synergies, operating efficiencies and further growth for the benefit of Countryside Shareholders and wider stakeholders.

”The Countryside board has carefully reviewed this combination and believes it offers the best potential to create the greatest value for Countryside shareholders.”

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