Intu chairman plots takeover bid

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Intu deputy chairman John Whittkaker is believed to be planning a potential £2 billion deal to take over the shopping centre developer.

Whittaker already owns a 27 per cent stake in Intu via his investment firm Peel Group, which is understood to be working with US asset manager Brookfield and Saudi Arabia’s Olayan on a possible bid for the rest of the company.

Olayan has built up a 2.6 per cent stake in Intu, but Brookfield hold no stake in the company.

The consortium revealed on Thursday that it was considering a deal, although plans are in the “preliminary and exploratory stage” and no formal approach to Intu’s board has been made.

Under takeover rules, the group now has until November 1 to make a firm offer.

After a failed takeover attempt by rival shopping centre Hammerson earlier in the year, the new deal comes as Intu’s shares have fallen to their lowest level in more than 20 years.

Intu’s current market value is £2.1 billion. 

Hammerson ended talks over a £3.4 billion bid in April after the board withdrew its approval of a bid. 

It followed increasing opposition over the deal from Hammerson’s second-largest shareholder APG Asset Management, which owns a 7.1 per cent stake, which revealed in a letter to Hammerson that Intu’s share offer was “insufficiently attractive”.

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