Minerva has extended the deadline for bids for the company until 30 September, following a late surge in interest from potential suitors. It is understood that Minerva has received around 20 expressions of interest, with five parties believed to have made a move over the past few days.
Sources close to the company said that Canary Wharf and British Land had both requested information. Blackstone, Multiplex, CGI, Hines and the Australian developer, Westfield, are also thought to be in the frame.
City analysts believe that any bidder would need at least £500m to complete a takeover, because a large amount of Minerva’s assets are in large development sites. As these do not produce income, it would be difficult to secure debt financing against them.
Minerva has planning consent for the City’s tallest building, and is therefore an attractive proposition to potential bidders. Designed by Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners, the £1bn tower will stand at 712 ft and provide 1m sq ft of floorspace, mostly offices but including 22,000 sq ft of retail and a 19,000 sq ft rooftop restaurant
The company also owns 60% of the department store chain, Allders, and the Park Place development site, which is earmarked for 1m sq ft of retail development. Park Place is expected to be linked to the nearby Whitgift Centre, creating the biggest retail development in the country.