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Property tycoon Nick Candy eyes takeover bid for Covent Garden owner

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Nick Candy (left) and his wife Holly Candy. Photo: PA

The property tycoon Nick Candy has confirmed a potential takeover bid for Covent Garden owner Capital & Countries (Capco).

The businessman’s investment company Candy Ventures confirmed on Monday it was part of a consortium “in the early stages of considering a possible cash offer” for the whole of London-listed Capco (CAPC.L).

Capco’s shares were up 8.3% after the announcement at around 10am in London.

Capco is one of London’s biggest property companies, owning central London’s popular Covent Garden district and a major redevelopment site in Earls Court in west London.

It came after speculation in the Sunday Times that Candy was eyeing a bid alongside Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund.

Candy is behind the luxury and controversial One Hyde Park development in Knightsbridge, which was reported to be one of the most expensive residential developments in the world when it was unveiled in 2011.

The average property in the apartment block, which includes 86 apartments and four penthouses, went on sale for an average of £6,000 per square foot, according to Reuters.

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Candy Ventures said in a statement it was responding to “recent press speculation,” and said there could be “no certainty that any offer will be forthcoming, nor as to the terms of any such offer.”

Takeover rules mean the company is required to announce its intentions to make or withdraw plans for an offer by 18 November.

Capco has been the main landowner in Covent Garden since 2006, and now owns more than one million sq ft of the area’s historic market and surrounding streets.

Meanwhile the former Earls Court exhibition centre site is under development, with Capco’s website highlighting plans for “four new urban villages” with 7,500 new homes.

But Hammersmith & Fulham’s Labour council has attacked the developer over the pace of its plans, and is considering a compulsory purchase to build more affordable housing.