GE Capital on verge of

Benchmark, the quoted West End specialist, is expected to announce today that it has accepted a takeover bid of nearly £290m from GE Capital.

GE is the favourite to acquire the company, with a bid close to the 300p per share demanded by Benchmark’s two major shareholders, Guoco Land and Friends Provident, who together control 70% of the company.

If the GE deal goes ahead, Benchmark Chief Executive Nigel Kempner and his management team are expected to be retained, as GE has a relatively small team in the UK.

GE is understood to have outbid Resolution Property, previously considered the favourite to buy Benchmark. Sources close to the bid talks said that Resolution was having trouble raising the funds to meet the 300p per share required.

The Benchmark deal has been prolonged because the sum required is considerably higher than the company’s estimated triple net asset value of 250p. Original bidders for Benchmark, including Warner Estate Holdings, Schroders and Delancey, were put off by the asking price. Benchmark shares were this week trading at 255p.

Both Benchmark and GE declined to comment.

Source: Freeman News

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