March 14, 2019 / 6:31 AM / 8 days ago

Australia's Villa World gets $197 million takeover offer from AVID Property

(Reuters) - Australian property developer Villa World Ltd said on Thursday it had received a A$279.1 million ($197.02 million) conditional takeover offer from U.S.-based AVID Property Group Australia Pty Ltd.

AVID’s offer of A$2.23 per share represents a premium of 12.1 percent to Villa World’s last close.

Villa World said its board had started studying the proposal.

The offer comes at a time of significant downturn in Australia’s once booming property market. Housing prices have declined consistently since late 2017 amid tighter lending restrictions.

Villa World has also been a casualty of the economic downturn with the company saying in December it would not achieve its fiscal 2019 guidance, due to deteriorating residential housing market conditions and customer sentiment.

The company said last month it would not provide guidance for 2019 as market conditions and customer credit availability were likely to remain challenging for the remainder of the year.

Shares of Villa World fell 2.5 percent on Thursday, but have gained 13.4 percent so far this year after shedding 38.6 percent of their value in 2018.

Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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