Lands Improvement Group M&A


Lands Improvement Group


Advising Lands Improvement Group on its £120m M&A sale to Telereal Trillium

Lands Improvement Group is one the UK’s oldest land development companies. Founded in 1853 to support the interests of farmer landowners, the Company acquires greenfield and brownfield land, preparing it for residential-led development by obtaining outline planning and delivering strategic infrastructure. In 2009, Lands Improvement was acquired by BlackRock Europe Fund III. The strategy set out at the start of the investment was to renew and grow the business before realising value through a M&A exit in a 5/6 year timeframe. The team began working with Lands Improvement in 2011 with a strategy to promote the business and manage its reputation to this timeline, working towards a likely transaction.

As a company focused on the residential sector, Lands Improvement is involved in schemes which need local support if they are to succeed. Working with the company’s other advisers, our team has managed media interest in the schemes at a national and local level, promoting their positives in terms of design and build quality, increased housing capacity (local and national) and economic benefits.

As the issue of the national housing shortage has risen up the news agenda, we have recommended increased exposure to national and property trade journalists to improve understanding of Lands Improvement and its role in unlocking land for housing. Where the company has been involved in large scale, contested planning applications, we have supported management throughout, ensuring reporting is fair and balanced.

In the run up to the M&A sale we recommended and secured profile in The Sunday Times for the Company’s largest development, a 5000 home green field development in Bedfordshire. As a sale of the Company drew nearer, we advised senior management on handling speculation around the process and finally then finally on the sale announcement itself.

For companies engaged in large scale land and property development, who must persuade local communities to become comfortable with change, reputation is all important. Working closely with Lands Improvement, the Lansons team has helped to secure balanced reporting of its client’s activities as it prepared for sale.

The result has been a quiet period as the owners of the business, BlackRock European Fund III, prepared sell the business. For the transactions itself, all stakeholders were informed in a timely and professional way. Coverage of the transaction was balanced and factual, reflecting the main messages contained in both internal and external communications.