Swedens Balder Buys Entra Stake, but wont Join Takeover

Swedish real estate firm Balder has bought a 5% stake in Norway’s Entra but has no plans to join an ongoing takeover battle for the Oslo-listed firm, it said on Monday.

Two other Swedish real estate firms, SBB and Castellum, are both bidding for Entra, Norway’s largest listed real estate company.

“We prefer Entra to remain a listed company on the Oslo Bourse,” Balder Chief Executive Erik Selin said in a statement.

“We see Entra as a long-term investment and do not plan to bid for the whole company,” Selin said.

The bidding war over Entra broke out on Nov. 24 when SBB launched an unsolicited offer of 30 billion Norwegian crowns ($3.4 billion) and was shortly followed by a Castellum bid of 30.8 billion.

The exact value of the bids will however fluctuate over time as they both consist of a mix of cash and stock.

“The broad and increasing interest in Entra over recent weeks supports the board’s previously stated view that Entra is well positioned to create significant shareholder value going forward,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

Entra expects to release an updated valuation of its real estate portfolio later this week.

Entra at first rejected both bids, arguing it would prefer to stay independent, but then said it would consider Castellum’s approach.

The Norwegian government has agreed to sell its 8.24% stake in Entra to Castellum, with the caveat that the price for the state’s shares must be increased if Castellum were to raise its bid.

Nordic brokers Carnegie have said bids for Entra could reach 200 crowns per share, which would value the firm at 36.4 billion crowns, and that private equity players or wealthy Norwegian investors may enter the fray.

Entra’s shares were 0.4% lower by 0918 GMT, underperforming a 0.1% drop in Oslo’s benchmark index.

Balder rose 0.3%, Castellum traded 0.2% lower and SBB was unchanged on the day, against an average drop of 0.1% for the Stockholm stock exchange.

($1 = 8.8666 Norwegian crowns)

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche and Gareth Jones; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

Source: Reuters

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