Speculation is mounting that financier Paul Bassi is on the verge of taking control of Birmingham-based Real Estate Investors plc (REI).
Together with REI finance director Marcus Daly and other associated investors, he now holds just under 29 per cent of the shares in the AIM-listed property investment company. Once that holding reaches 29.99 per cent, they are obliged under Stock Exchange rules to buy the remaining shares and take the company private.
Chief executive Mr Bassi and Mr Daly have paid 4.5p for seven million and three million ordinary shares of 1p each in the company. The company’s shares closed on Monday at 5.13p; they had been as high as 11p earlier this year.
Mr Bassi’s investment is through Bond Wolfe Assets Ltd, of which he is executive chairman and sole shareholder. As a result, his total beneficial interest is now 82,399,493 shares representing 24.18 per cent of the issued share capital of REI.
Mr Daly’s total beneficial interest in REI is now 6,850,000 ordinary shares representing 2.01 per cent of the issued share capital of REI.
At the time of their appointment as directors of REI, the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers deemed Paul Bassi and Marcus Daly to be members of a concert party with other individuals who invested in REI at the same time. Following the latest transactions, the concert party has an aggregate interest in REI of 28.76 per cent.
REI has a £50 million-plus property portfolio, with a number of buildings in the city centre including York House on the corner of Great Charles Street and Newhall Street, which it bought for £4 million earlier this year, Cathedral Place, a £5 million redevelopment on Waterloo Street, which has undergone a £1.5 million transformation into Mayfair-style offices and is part-let to Caffè Nero, and the corner office block on Colmore Row and Bennett’s Hill.
When REI announced its interim results in September it had £22 million balance sheet cash and Mr Bassi said the company was well placed to take advantage of distressed property sales in a struggling market.