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Countrywide PLC (CWD)

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Monday 09 November, 2020

Countrywide PLC

Statement re Possible Offer and Postponement of GM

RNS Number : 5919E
Countrywide PLC
09 November 2020
 

NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN, INTO OR FROM ANY JURISDICTION WHERE TO DO SO WOULD CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF THE RELEVANT LAWS OR REGULATIONS OF THAT JURISDICTION

 

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS NOT AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF A FIRM INTENTION TO MAKE AN OFFER UNDER RULE 2.7 OF THE CITY CODE ON TAKEOVERS AND MERGERS (THE "CODE") AND THERE CAN BE NO CERTAINTY THAT AN OFFER WILL BE MADE, NOR AS TO THE TERMS ON WHICH ANY OFFER WILL BE MADE

 

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT CONTAINS INSIDE INFORMATION

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

9 November 2020

 

Countrywide plc

Statement re Possible Offer and Postponement of General Meeting

 

Statement re: Possible Offer

 

Countrywide plc ("Countrywide" or the "Company") has received an indicative approach from Connells Limited to acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of the Company, in cash, at a price of 250 pence per Countrywide share (the "Approach"). The Approach is at an early stage and Connells Limited has indicated that any offer is conditional upon, amongst other things, completion of confirmatory due diligence and the recommendation of the Board of Countrywide.

 

There can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms of any such offer, should one be made. 

 

Postponement of General Meeting

 

In the light of recent discussions with shareholders, the Board has taken the decision to postpone the general meeting to approve the shareholder resolutions pursuant to the proposed transaction announced on 22 October 2020 (the "Proposed Transaction") until further notice.

 

Accordingly, Countrywide shareholders should take no further action in connection with the Proposed Transaction (including the making of payments of application monies, and the submission of application forms, documents of title, proxy forms and voting instructions) until further notice.

 

In the meantime, the Board will continue to engage with its shareholders to examine all potential options to deliver a sustainable capital structure for the Company and to maximise shareholder value.

 

A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate.

 

Notes

 

In accordance with Rule 2.6(a) of the Code, Connells Limited is required, by not later than 5.00 p.m. on 7 December 2020, either to announce a firm intention to make an offer for the Company in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or to announce that it does not intend to make an offer, in which case the announcement will be treated as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applies. This deadline can be extended with the consent of the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers in accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code.

 

This announcement does not amount to, and should not be treated as, an announcement of a firm intention to make an offer and accordingly there can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer will be made.

 

This announcement has been made without the consent of Connells Limited.

 

The person responsible for arranging for the release of this announcement is Gareth Williams, Company Secretary of Countrywide.

 

Enquiries:

 

Countrywide


Analysts and investors


Himanshu Raja, Chief Financial Officer

[email protected]



Media


Natalie Gunson

[email protected]

Tel: +44 (0)7721 439043

 

Jefferies (Joint Financial Adviser and Joint Corporate Broker to Countrywide):

Paul Nicholls

Paul Bundred

William Brown

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7029 8000

 

Barclays (Joint Financial Adviser and Joint Corporate Broker to Countrywide):

Robert Mayhew

Richard Bassingthwaighte

Stuart Muress

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7623 2323

 

Brunswick Group (Financial PR)

Kim Fletcher

Diana Vaughton

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7404 5959

 

Important notice

 

This announcement is not intended to, and does not, constitute, represent or form part of any offer, invitation or solicitation of any offer to purchase, otherwise acquire, subscribe for, sell or otherwise dispose of, any securities or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction, whether pursuant to this announcement or otherwise.

 

Overseas jurisdictions

 

The release, distribution or publication of this announcement in jurisdictions other than the United Kingdom may be restricted by the laws of the relevant jurisdictions and therefore any persons who are subject to the laws of any jurisdiction other than the United Kingdom should inform themselves about, and observe, any applicable requirements. The information disclosed in this announcement may not be the same as that which would have been disclosed if this announcement had been prepared in accordance with the laws of jurisdictions outside the United Kingdom. Any failure to comply with the restrictions may constitute a violation of the securities law of any such jurisdiction.

 

Publication on a website

 

In accordance with Rule 26.1 of the Code, a copy of this announcement will be available at www.countrywide.co.uk/corporate/investor-relations/ by no later than 12 noon London time on the business day following this announcement.

 

The content of the website referred to in this announcement is not incorporated into and does not form part of this announcement.

 

Rule 2.9

 

In accordance with Rule 2.9 of the Code, Countrywide confirms that as at the date of this announcement, it has in issue 32,826,068 shares of 1 pence each. The International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) of Countrywide's shares is GB00BK5V9445 and Countrywide's LEI number is 213800N1OX24ENZUIK30.

 

Disclosure requirements of the Code

 

Under Rule 8.3(a) of the Code, any person who is interested in 1% or more of any class of relevant securities of an offeree company or of any securities exchange offeror (being any offeror other than an offeror in respect of which it has been announced that its offer is, or is likely to be, solely in cash) must make an Opening Position Disclosure following the commencement of the offer period and, if later, following the announcement in which any securities exchange offeror is first identified. An Opening Position Disclosure must contain details of the person's interests and short positions in, and rights to subscribe for, any relevant securities of each of (i) the offeree company and (ii) any securities exchange offeror(s). An Opening Position Disclosure by a person to whom Rule 8.3(a) applies must be made by no later than 3.30 pm (London time) on the 10th business day following the commencement of the offer period and, if appropriate, by no later than 3.30 pm (London time) on the 10th business day following the announcement in which any securities exchange offeror is first identified. Relevant persons who deal in the relevant securities of the offeree company or of a securities exchange offeror prior to the deadline for making an Opening Position Disclosure must instead make a Dealing Disclosure.

 

Under Rule 8.3(b) of the Code, any person who is, or becomes, interested in 1% or more of any class of relevant securities of the offeree company or of any securities exchange offeror must make a Dealing Disclosure if the person deals in any relevant securities of the offeree company or of any securities exchange offeror. A Dealing Disclosure must contain details of the dealing concerned and of the person's interests and short positions in, and rights to subscribe for, any relevant securities of each of (i) the offeree company and (ii) any securities exchange offeror, save to the extent that these details have previously been disclosed under Rule 8. A Dealing Disclosure by a person to whom Rule 8.3(b) applies must be made by no later than 3.30 pm (London time) on the business day following the date of the relevant dealing.

 

If two or more persons act together pursuant to an agreement or understanding, whether formal or informal, to acquire or control an interest in relevant securities of an offeree company or a securities exchange offeror, they will be deemed to be a single person for the purpose of Rule 8.3.

 

Opening Position Disclosures must also be made by the offeree company and by any offeror and Dealing Disclosures must also be made by the offeree company, by any offeror and by any persons acting in concert with any of them (see Rules 8.1, 8.2 and 8.4).

 

Details of the offeree and offeror companies in respect of whose relevant securities Opening Position Disclosures and Dealing Disclosures must be made can be found in the Disclosure Table on the Takeover Panel's website at www.thetakeoverpanel.org.uk, including details of the number of relevant securities in issue, when the offer period commenced and when any offeror was first identified. You should contact the Panel's Market Surveillance Unit on +44 (0)20 7638 0129 if you are in any doubt as to whether you are required to make an Opening Position Disclosure or a Dealing Disclosure.

 

Electronic communications

 

Please be aware that addresses, electronic addresses and certain other information provided by Countrywide shareholders, persons with information rights and other relevant persons for the receipt of communications from Countrywide may be provided to Connells Limited during the offer period as required under Section 4 of Appendix 4 of the Code to comply with Rule 2.11 of the Code.

 

Disclaimers

 

Jefferies International Limited ("Jefferies"), which is authorised and regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA"), is acting as Joint Financial Adviser and Joint Corporate Broker to Countrywide and no one else in connection with the matters set out in this announcement and will not regard any other person as its client in relation to the matters in this announcement. In connection with such matters, Jefferies, its affiliates and its and their respective partners, directors, officers, employees, representatives and agents will not regard any person other than Countrywide as their client, nor will they be responsible to anyone other than Countrywide for providing the protections afforded to their clients or for providing advice in relation to the contents of this announcement or any other matter referred to in this announcement.

 

Barclays Bank PLC, acting through its investment bank ("Barclays"), which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated in the United Kingdom by the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority, is acting as Joint Financial Adviser and Joint Corporate Broker exclusively for Countrywide and no one else in connection with the matters set out in this announcement and will not be responsible to anyone other than Countrywide for providing the protections afforded to clients of Barclays, nor for providing advice in relation to any matter referred to herein.

 

In accordance with the Code, normal United Kingdom market practice and Rule 14e-5(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Barclays and its affiliates will continue to act as exempt principal trader in Countrywide securities on the London Stock Exchange. These purchases and activities by exempt principal traders which are required to be made public in the United Kingdom pursuant to the Code will be reported to a Regulatory Information Service and will be available on the London Stock Exchange website at www.londonstockexchange.com. This information will also be publicly disclosed in the United States to the extent that such information is made public in the United Kingdom.

 

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