Ham­mer­son cre­ates ¤24bn gi­ant

The Irish Times - - Markets -

Shop­ping cen­tre owner Ham­mer­son has agreed an all-share takeover of ri­val Intu in a £3.4 bil­lion (¤3.9 bil­lion) deal that will cre­ate Bri­tain’s big­gest prop­erty com­pany.

It will see the likes of Intu-owned Lake­side and the Bull­ring in Birm­ing­ham, con­trolled by Ham­mer­son, come un­der one roof, cre­at­ing a £21 bil­lion (¤23.8 mil­lion) shop­ping cen­tre gi­ant.

The deal by Ham­mer­son, which part-owns the Dun­drum Town Cen­tre fa­cil­ity in Dublin, rep­re­sents a value of about 253.9p per Intu share, equiv­a­lent to £3.4 bil­lion.

The com­bined group will be led by Ham­mer­son boss David Atkins and chaired by its cur­rent chair­man, David Tyler.

Share­hold­ers will vote on the deal next year, with Intu hav­ing already se­cured 50 per cent of in­vestor sup­port for the all-pa­per deal.

“This trans­ac­tion will de­liver real value for share­hold­ers,” Mr Tyler said.

“The fi­nan­cial strength of the en­larged group and its strong lead­er­ship team will make it well-placed to take ad­van­tage of higher growth op­por­tu­ni­ties on a pan-Euro­pean scale.”

The groups plan to slash costs, off­load at least £2 bil­lion worth of as­sets and tar­get high-growth mar­kets such as Spain and Ire­land. Intu also op­er­ates the Traf­ford Cen­tre in Manch­ester, while Ham­mer­son owns Bices­ter Vil­lage and Brent Cross shop­ping cen­tre.

Lead­ing cities

John Strachan, chair­man of Intu, said: “A com­bi­na­tion of both Intu and Ham­mer­son will cre­ate a more re­silient, di­ver­si­fied and stronger group that we be­lieve will ben­e­fit all our stake­hold­ers.

“Intu of­fers high-qual­ity re­tail and leisure des­ti­na­tions in the UK and Spain, which when merged with Ham­mer­son’s own top-qual­ity as­sets in the UK, in France and in Ire­land, present a highly at­trac­tive propo­si­tion for re­tail­ers and shop­pers in Europe’s lead­ing cities.”

The ac­qui­si­tion will re­sult in Ham­mer­son share­hold­ers own­ing 55 per cent of the com­bined firm and Intu in­vestors the re­main­der.

The deal comes at a time when con­sumer con­fi­dence has taken a pound­ing fol­low­ing the Brexit vote, re­sult­ing in a sharp decline in re­tail sales.

How­ever, shop­ping cen­tres in city lo­ca­tions have tended to fare bet­ter than high streets dur­ing eco­nomic down­turns.

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