Damac hires advisers to assess Dh2.2b offer to go private

Dubai: Damac Properties hired advisers to assess an offer to take the Dubai-based real estate developer private.

An independent valuer and financial adviser have been appointed to help the board determine the financial fairness of the offer from the perspective of shareholders, Damac said in a statement to the stock exchange on Sunday.

Billionaire Hussain Sajwani offered to take the rest of Damac private at a discount of nearly 45 per cent to the developer's local listing in 2015. The bid was the latest in a string of similar deals in the UAE which sought to buy out minority shareholders at a discount.

Maple Invest, an investment vehicle owned by Sajwani, offered Dh2.2 billion, making what it called "a voluntary conditional offer for the issued share capital of Damac not already owned by Maple and its affiliates." Sajwani, who owns a 72 per cent stake in the developer, resigned as Damac's chairman to avoid conflict of interest.

Damac's June 9 announcement sparked a backlash among some investors who questioned the timing of the plan just as the property market is starting to improve following seven years of decline.

Damac's board hired Al Tamimi & Co. law firm and said the supplemental offer document will be published this month. Also, Sofyan Al Khatib, while staying on as a board member, won't be part of discussion in relation to the offer due to his "connection" to the former chairman, Damac said.

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