Both Countrywide and LSL Property Services have submitted early online paperwork to The Panel on Takeovers and Mergers, an independent body charged with ensuring fair treatment for shareholders.
Within minutes of each other yesterday, the two agency groups started filing online forms to fulfil stock market obligations for “public open position disclosure”.
The Panel on Takeovers and Mergers is an independent body which administers the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers - a binding set of rules applying to all companies that are listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The panel describes LSL as the offeror - the party making the offer - and Countrywide is described as the offeree, the party to which the offer has been made.
This appears to add weight to the suggestion that LSL may be interested more in a takeover than a merger; LSL is smaller than Countrywide in terms of branches and staff but has substantially greater market value - about £360m - with Countrywide trailing with a market value of £110m.
News first broke at the weekend that Countrywide and LSL were in talks about a joint future. Since that time stock market online forms have been posted by shareholders in the two companies in line with the code, requiring them to disclose holdings.
As we reported yesterday, the deadline for a decision on the merger or takeover is 5pm on March 23.