PE firms circle London’s Minerva

Private equity firms including Blackstone, Fortress and AREA are reportedly lining up takeover approaches for Minerva, a London-focused development firm.

Minerva, the London-listed development firm, has reportedly become a takeover target of a number of private equity firms following a successful refinancing.

According to a report by The Observer, Minerva, which completed the refinancing of £750 million ($1.18 billion; €804 million) of debt last month, is being lined up for a possible bid by Blackstone, Fortress, AREA Property Partners and Europa Capital.

Minerva was not available for comment when approached this morning by PERE.

According to analysts interviewed by the newspaper, the refinancing, which runs until 2011 and which saw Minerva significantly reduce its £1 billion debt pile, immediately made the company a more attractive investment proposition.

The transaction also underlined the support banks are willing to provide to UK real estate at the moment. In a research document released at the annual real estate conference EXPO Real last week, property services firm Savills said the number of banks lending on commercial real estate investments of £20 million or more had almost doubled since March this year. Lenders in this category included Aviva, Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and a number of German banks.

Minerva was subject to a takeover bid from Dubai state-owned company Limitless last year however the deal failed to materialise after the banks on both sides could not agree on lending terms to the business.

The company is best known for developments including The Walbrook, a 410,000 square foot office, and St Botolphs, a 560,000 square foot office, in the City of London.