Northacre in Bid Talks With Groups Led by CEO, Abu Dhabi

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Northacre Plc, developer of The Lancasters luxury apartments opposite London’s Hyde Park, is in talks to be acquired by two separate companies, one of which is led by its Chief Executive Officer Ken MacRae.

The discussions are at an early stage and there is no certainty of an offer, the London-based company said in a statement today. An independent committee has been formed to assess the offers.

MacRae is leading one of the approaches through his management buyout company 2492 Ltd., while the other is from Abu Dhabi Capital Management LLC, according to the statement.

Northacre has been unprofitable since 2008 when the British housing market plummeted during the financial crisis. The homebuilder is planning to build less expensive homes by renovating office buildings to help increase returns on its developments.

Northacre rose 26 percent in London trading to 99.5 pence as of 4:01 p.m. That’s the biggest intraday gain since August 2010.

The Lancasters, a 77-unit redevelopment of 1850s townhouses, helped Northacre become the second-best performing real estate stock in Europe in 2010. The shares jumped by 43 percent on Aug. 11, that year when the company announced it sold enough apartments to get a 50 percent share in the profits with development partner Minerva Plc.

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