Trafford Centre and Arndale owner in £3.4bn takeover deal

Property group Hammerson has made a £3.4bn offer for rival Intu which owns Manchester’s Trafford Centre and part-owns the Arndale.

The deal will create a shopping centre giant with a £21bn portfolio of retail developments across Europe.

It would mean that London’s Brent Cross, the Birmingham Bullring, Cabot Circus in Bristol and Trafford Centre would come under one group.

Hammerson has offered 253.9p per Intu share, the equivalent to £3.4 billion for the entire issued share capital of Intu.

The group pledged that if its all-share offer is accepted, the combined company will sell £2bn of assets to strengthen its balance sheet.

The deal will be very lucrative from John Whittaker, the billionaire behind Intu owner Peel Holdings and Intu’s deputy chairman who will be given the same role in the enlarged company, while its chairman John Strachan will join the board as senior non-executive director.

John Whittaker
(Image: handout)

Stracham 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.

“I am proud of the financial and operational success that Intu’s management team has delivered and pleased to see that the Intu brand will continue.”

In a joint statement to the markets Hammerson and Intu said the £21bn pan-European portfolio would give ‘exposure to high-growth markets’ which ‘benefit from evolving consumer trends’.

Group chiefs said the acquisition would ‘unlock growth and value creation opportunities for shareholders’ by bringing together assets ‘under a superior combined operating platform’.

The statement said the enlarged group could combine its consumer know-how and expertise in events, customer service and digital to drive footfall, delivering highly productive space for retailers and attractive destinations for consumers.

The proposed deal involves the larger company keeping the Hammerson name – Hammerson plc – and being run by chairman David Tyler and chief executive David Atkins.

(Image: Manchester Evening News)

David Tyler, Chairman of Hammerson, said: “This transaction will deliver real value for shareholders. 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.”

David Atkins, Chief Executive of Hammerson, said: “This marks an exciting milestone in the history of Hammerson.

“Bringing together the high-quality portfolios of both companies establishes Hammerson as a larger, leading European retail REIT, enhances shareholder returns and supports opportunities for long-term growth.

“The acquisition creates a leading pan-European platform of desirable retail and leisure destinations which are better positioned to serve the needs of our retailers, excite our customers and support our partners and communities. I hold Intu’s high-quality centres in high regard and I look forward to working with a strengthened team to enhance the performance of our entire portfolio.”

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