One of Intu's largest assets is the Manchester Trafford Centre

Hammerson shareholders question Intu acquisition

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

One of the largest shareholders in Hammerson has said it will vote against the proposed £3.4bn takeover of Trafford Centre owner Intu, which Hammerson is now free to progress with after it rejected an acquisition bid of its own last week.

APG Asset Management, a Dutch pension company with a 7.1% stake in Hammerson, sent an open letter on Friday which described the Intu deal as “insufficiently attractive” and said it didn’t consider “UK retail environment risks”.

Over the last few weeks, Hammerson has been fending off an acquisition from French mall operator Klépierre, which made two unsolicited offers. The latest bid last week equated to just over £5bn split between cash and Klépierre shares, however Hammerson confirmed on Thursday it had rejected the offer as it “undervalued” the company.

The agreement between Hammerson and Intu was announced in December, with the boards of both businesses agreeing to an all-share acquisition, which would lead to the creation of a £21bn pan-European portfolio of retail and leisure assets. However, Hammerson had delayed progressing with the Intu deal while talks were ongoing with Klépierre due to the situation being “unclear”.

On Friday Hammerson said: “The board continues to believe that Klépierre’s proposal, which the board carefully considered following a meeting between David Tyler and Jean-Marc Jestin, very significantly undervalued Hammerson.

“Following the announcement of the company’s 2017 results, the approach by Klépierre, and the Q1 2018 Business Update, Hammerson has engaged intensively with its shareholders and will continue to do so.”

A report by The Sunday Times said Hammerson investors were unhappy with how the Klépierre negotiations had been dealt with, and this had led to discontent over the agreement with Intu.

Hammerson shares were up 8.2p to 481.2p per share this morning. Meanwhile, Intu shares were down 7.2p to 212.4p.

Hammerson has been contacted for further comment.

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