Dubai-owned Limitless has agreed to buy Minerva for about £260m, sending the company’s shares rocketing yesterday.

Limitless had a cash bid of £1.60 per share accepted by the company after months of negotiations, a premium to yesterday’s opening price of 71p, but less than half the figure at which Minerva was trading this time last year. Shares in the company jumped 66 per cent on the news, and finished the day up 48p at £1.20.

If the deal completes, this would be the sector’s first corporate transaction since real estate shares began to slide 18 months ago. Minerva has been hard hit by the property market downturn because of exposure to the struggling City of London sector through two large office schemes. As a developer, there have also been worries about its levels of debt and negative recurring cash flow.

Limitless, advised by UBS, has been locked in negotiations with Minerva over price but forced a decision from the company after lodging a final cash offer at the end of last week.

Financial Times, Daily Telegraph