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by Timeshares Daily Staff
Boca Raton-based time-share company Bluegreen Corp. said Monday it intends to sell itself to a new owner for a hefty premium. The company said it signed a nonbinding letter of intent to be acquired by Las Vegas-based time-share developer and manager Diamond Resorts LLC for $15 a share, or about $500 million, excluding Bluegreen’s outstanding debt.
Bluegreen shares closed Monday at $6.44, off from a 52-week high of $11.85, before the deal was announced. The company had calculated its book value at $12.37 a share as of March 31. Alan B. Levan, Bluegreen’s chairman, said the company had been considering options for the next three to five years.
“When Diamond presented our board with this unsolicited, attractive offer, we believed that it was in the best interest of our shareholders to pursue this transaction at this time,” Levan said in a statement.
Levan also is chairman of Fort Lauderdale-based BankAtlantic and chairman and chief executive of Woodbridge Holdings Corp., which owns 9.5 million shares of Bluegreen stock. He indicated that Woodbridge would back the proposed deal, the statement said.
Diamond has been buying up rivals to become one of the world’s largest vacation ownership companies. It now boasts 110 branded and affiliated resorts in 14 countries in the Americas, Hawaii and Europe, with more than 360,000 owners. In April last year, Diamond bought time-share heavyweight Sunterra Corp. for approximately $750 million.
Bluegreen said it has granted Diamond an exclusive right of negotiation through Sept. 15. A final sale agreement must be approved by Bluegreen’s board and shareholders. The deal would affect about more than 6,000 Bluegreen employees worldwide, including about 600 at its headquarters at the T-Rex Corporate Center off Interstate 95 and Yamato Road in . In December, Bluegreen extended its lease on roughly 192,000 square feet at the T-Rex center for 10 years, a corporate spokeswoman said Monday.
Bluegreen offers time shares in more than 40 resorts and in an exchange network, with more than 186,500 owners. It also sells land for homes in planned residential and golf communities. Its time-share business is growing, but home-site sales have slowed with a weak housing market. In the quarter ended March 31, Bluegreen said revenues fell by $10.5 million to $111.3 million a year earlier because of weaker home-site sales. Net income slipped to $1.4 million from $5.3 million in the year-ago quarter.