Fortress aims to take over Mapeley

US private equity firm Fortress Investment Group is reported to have made a takeover approach for UK property outsourcing company Mapeley, which has a portfolio of approximately £2.2 billion.

Fortress Investment Group, the majority shareholder of UK property company Mapeley, is reportedly planning to acquire equity in the business it doesn't already own.

According to the Financial Times, the group is offering £19 per share to take the company private. At that price, the company is valued above £530 million (€695 million; $1 billion). Shares in Mapeley have been trading well below their yearly-high of £40 and the £19 offer price. In December the shares hit a yearly low of £12.10, but they have slightly recovered since to £14.53 at today's opening price.

The move can be seen as a sign of things to come for listed property managers: With the share prices of many UK property companies having taken a battering in recent times, investors are beginning to see value in them.

Fortress was one of the original backers of Mapeley in 1999 and helped bring the company to the public market. It owns more than 50 percent of the company. The takeover approach comes weeks ahead of a deadline for Mapeley to refinance £260 million of debt.

Mapeley has not confirmed the identity of the bidder. In a statement it said: “The board of Mapeley has received an indicative non-binding proposal to acquire all of Mapeley's outstanding shares.”

As of 30 September last year, Mapeley owned £2.2 billion (€2.9 billion; $4. 3 billion) of freehold and long leasehold property in the UK. This includes 422 freehold Abbey National bank branches and 884 leaseholds acquired in December 2000.