Shopping centre giant Klépierre has reportedly held talks with Hammerson’s top shareholders as it steps up efforts to acquire the firm for almost £5 billion despite an initial rejection.
It is understood that Paris-based Klépierre has urged Hammerson’s major shareholders to reconsider its £3.4 billion takeover proposal of Intu.
Klépierre, which shopping centres in 57 cities around the world, reportedly offered Hammerson shareholders 615p a share – worth £4.9 billion.
It is also understood to be informing its own investors that Hammerson offers the ideal chance to break the UK market – one of the few markets in Europe where it doesn’t yet operate.
Klépierre made an initial takeover bid on March 8 “with the intention of engaging in a constructive dialogue”, but it was rejected by Hammerson in less than 24 hours.
Hammerson chairman David Tyler at the time described the takeover attempt as “wholly inadequate and entirely opportunistic”.
While Klépierre told the London Stock Exchange afterwards that there was no guarantee a firm offer would be made, its latest charm offensive with Hammerson’s shareholders could derail the Intu tie-up and lead to a hostile takeover.
“It is a calculated attempt to exploit the disconnect between our recent share price performance and the inherent value of our unique and irreplaceable portfolio which is delivering record results,” Tyler said in response to Klépierre’s latest efforts.
“Klépierre is asking our shareholders to accept a price for their Hammerson shares which is not only at a significant discount to their book value but includes a large element of paper in a company which in our view has a lower-quality portfolio and lower growth prospects.”
Hammerson – which recently fell out of the FTSE 100 after seeing its share price slide in response to tough market conditions despite a 6.9 per cent in annual net rental income – announced its £3.4 billion takeover of Intu in December last year.
The deal will create the UK’s biggest shopping centre company and result in Hammerson shareholders owning 55 per cent of the combined firm while Intu investors own the remainder.
Hammerson owns shopping centres like the Bullring in Birmingham, Cabot Circus in Bristol, Victoria Gate in Leeds, Westquay in Southampton and Brent Cross in London.
Meanwhile, Intu operates an eponymous chain of centres such as Lakeside in Essex and Trafford Centre in Manchester, and have co-ownership of St David’s in Cardiff.