Chelsfield Chairman, Elliott Bernerd, has confirmed that approaches have been made to buy the company, with the Australian developers Multiplex and Westfield understood to be in the frame.
Multiplex was part of the Duelguide consortium which also comprised Bernerd and the Reuben brothers. Earlier this year, Duelguide took Chelsfield private in a deal worth £1.9bn. Currently, the Reuben brothers control 35% of Chelsfield, Bernerd has a 14% stake while Multiplex has a 7.4% holding.
Bernerd wrote to shareholders yesterday saying: “Duelguide has received indications of interest for potential purchasers. These indications are at an early stage and are being investigated.”
Chelsfield is in the process of selling off its income-producing assets, including the £250m Paddington Basin scheme, a 60% stake in the prestigious Wentworth golf club in Surrey and the Merry Hill shopping centre in the West Midlands. Recently, the company sold its 50% stake in the White City regeneration scheme to the German fund, CGI for £1.4bn.
It is understood that Westfield, one of the world’s largest shopping centre operators, is particularly interested in Merry Hill. Multiplex is also keen to expand its presence in the UK.