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Persimmon confirms Westbury bid

House building giant Persimmon confirmed this morning that it is in talks to buy Westbury.
Cheltenham-based Westbury announced an approach from a mystery bidder on Friday after the markets closed.

Persimmon - which has been linked with a possible bid for the firm in the City - said this morning: 'Persimmon confirms that it has approached Westbury with a proposal to acquire for cash the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Westbury. This approach may or may not lead to an offer for Westbury.'

Shares in Westbury had earlier risen more than 6 per cent to hit their highest level since March, valuing the firm at £563.3 million.

The vulnerability of Westbury to a takeover has grown since it posted a 26 per cent drop in half-year profits towards the end of last month.

Westbury denied that its profits of £45.5 million for the six months to August 31 were a letdown, calling them 'satisfactory' in a property market that was weaker than expected.

Its core Westbury Homes division sold 1,934 houses during the period - down from 2,087 at the same time last year. Revenues fell to £415.3 million from £427 million last time.

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