HBOS Wants A Stake In Leisure Land

The HBOS high street banking chain could be plotting to swallow up Quintain Estates & Development, the property company that owns land around Wembley Arena and also on the old Millennium Dome site.

It reportedly bought the 11.9 percent stake owned by property entrepreneur and Tottenham Hotspur director Paul Kemsley, and hired investment bankers Merrill Lynch to look at what its next move should be.

Quintain may have developed the Dome into a live music venue itself if it had gone through with a bid it made in cahoots with the Duke Of Westminster’s Grosvenor Estates, BBC Worldwide, Madame Tussauds, property companies Landlease and Stanhope, and music promoter Harvey Goldsmith.

In the end it teamed with Lend Lease Europe, via their co-owned Meridian Delta Ltd., Philip Anschutz’s AEG and English Partnerships, which are now developing the 190-acre Greenwich Peninsula site between them. Quintain owns 18.5 acres.

In 2002 the company paid Wembley plc £48 million for a 44-acre site surrounding the old stadium, which it’s since developed to include leisure facilities, homes, offices and shops.

Its shares rose 4.75 percent to 895.5 pence during the course of July 13 as the city reacted to HBOS buying Kemsley’s slice.

Analysts believe the plan would be to take the stock-listed company private, although they feel it’s unlikely that HBOS would break it up.

A characteristic of the bank’s previous deals with property companies is that it tends to work with their existing management teams.

In Quintain’s case, HBOS couldn’t even get sufficient control without the support of chief exec Adrian Wyatt and deputy chief exec Nick Shattock.