Urban&Civic is set to be purchased by charitable foundation Wellcome Trust in a £506 million deal.

Wellcome Trust, the purchaser, controls a £26.8 billion investment portfolio focused on maximising revenue for charitable purposes with a view to improving public health.
Urban&Civic, the listed developer behind Cambridge’s new 6,500-home Waterbeach Barracks project (pictured above), now has ten strategic housing sites under ownership, of which it is building out six already via partnerships with other developers and housebuilders. These sites have a total of 33,500 consented homes.

Urban&Civic unanimously recommended shareholders backed the offer of 345p per share – a premium of two thirds of the stock exchange closing price on 5th November 2020.
Following a 99.6 per cent shareholder vote in favour, the deal was approved. Urban&Civic shares were de-listed on 21st January 2021, and the company stated that the acquisition consolidated their position as the leading Master Developer in the UK.

Prior to the announcement, Urban&Civic had a stock market valuation of £306m. However, it reported that the actual Net Asset Value had been rated at 343p per share, just under the offer price of £506m.

The collaboration between Wellcome Trust and Urban&Civic on Manydown, a new £1.2 billion garden community in Hampshire, may well have instigated this takeover deal. The development received planning permission in July 2020 and the two organisations announced the formation of a joint venture between them and the local authorities in the area shortly afterwards.

Peter Pereira Gray, managing partner and chief executive officer of the Investment Division of Wellcome, said: “The offer by Wellcome for Urban & Civic represents a compelling value proposition for Urban & Civic’s shareholders at an attractive and certain value in cash today, reflecting the high quality of the business, its people and its future prospects”.

Alan Dickinson, chairman of Urban&Civic, said the offer secured returns for “loyal” shareholders, while maintaining the focus of the business on high-quality development. He said: “Comprehensive alignment with the objectives of Homes England and respective local authorities will be maintained and reinforced”.

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