Miller Homes “in talks” with private equity group over £600m sale

Scottish housebuilder Miller Homes is reported to be in discussions over a possible sale to the private equity group that owns Pret A Manger.

Sky News reported on Friday, 21 July, that the Edinburgh-based company was in discussions with Bridgepoint, and was close to agreeing a deal that valued it at £600m.

According to Sky, Bridgepoint has shown an interest in the UK housebuilding sector since an offer for retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone was rebuffed in 2015.

Miller Homes was one of the casualties of the 2008 financial crash, which laid waste to the UK housebuilding sector. This left it in the hands of its banks, who later sold 54% of the company to GSO Capital Partners, a subsidiary of New York-based private equity group Blackstone.

Coller Capital also owns 23% and Keith Miller, the former chief executive who stepped down in 2015, is another significant shareholder.

It was reported in May last year that Blackstone had asked Rothschild to investigate a possible sale of Miller, and the company itself is also thought to be exploring the possibility of a listing on the London stock exchange. An IPO was considered in 2014, but called off owing to "market volatility".

Miller’s pre-tax profit climbed 44% to £89m in 2016 as revenue grew to £565m. The company completed 2,380 homes across the UK.

Image: Miller’s Mulberry Fields development in southeast England (Miller)

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