Quinlan may make bid for Chelsfield

DEREK QUINLAN has emerged as a potential bidder for the £2.2 billion (€3.1bn) British property company Chelsfield.

Mr Quinlan, who runs the Quinlan Private investment vehicle behind the purchase of the Savoy Hotel Group, could scupper a deal between Chelsfield and the Australian property firm Westfield.

Mr Quinlan, whose backers are mainly Irish high rollers, has approached the investment bank NM Rothschild, which is acting for Chelsfield.

Westfield, which runs dozens of supermarkets across Australia and is looking to expand internationally, has bid £585 million for Chelsfield, a price that values the company at £2.2 billion when debt is included.

But Mr Quinlan, who has emerged as a key dealmaker in the British property market in recent years, could launch a higher bid as the Westfield offer contains a number of conditions, including acceptance from 50.1% of Chelsfield investors and technical amendments to the pre-emption rights of current investors.

The bidders are mainly interested in Chelsfield’s key asset - the White City shopping centre in London, currently under construction. The company is also the largest shareholder in the Wentworth golf course, which is being sold to Fermanagh businessman Sean Quinn, the owner of the Quinn Direct insurance firm.

Duelguide the owners of Chelsfield are due to meet this week to discuss the Wesfield offer.

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