intu slates Hammerson u-turn

Artists impression of new Intu Broadmarsh

Shopping centre operator intu has responded to the news that Hammerson is pulling out of the deal to buy its business, calling the decision “unsatisfactory”.

Hammerson announced it was pulling out of a proposed deal to acquire rival Intu, has stated that the proposed Intu acquisition was no longer in the best interests of shareholders and that it was withdrawing its recommendation to Hammerson shareholders to vote in favour of the Intu acquisition.

The announcement came barely a week after French real estate firm Klépierre walked away from its bid to takeover shopping centre owner Hammerson.

However, intu responded, pointing out: “As recently as 19 March 2018, in its first response to the approach by Klépierre, Hammerson reaffirmed its intention to proceed with the intu Transaction stating that “the Board of Hammerson remains fully committed to [the intu Transaction], which the Board continues to believe will deliver significant value for Hammerson shareholders.”

“Further, Hammerson issued a positive trading update on 5 April 2018.

“intu also issued a trading update on 17 April 2018 which underlined its strong trading performance.

“intu therefore regards as unsatisfactory the explanations given by the Board of Hammerson for its withdrawal of its recommendation of the intu Transaction, a transaction which intu has been pursuing in good faith since its announcement on 6 December 2017.

“The Board of intu is entirely confident of intu’s commercial future and prospects. The trading update issued yesterday underlined the key strengths of intu’s business. intu will further update shareholders in due course on its plans.

“The Board of intu will be meeting to consider Hammerson’s request not to convene a shareholders’ meeting to vote on the intu transaction.”

The deal could still go ahead despite the board’s withdrawal of its recommendation to shareholders, if they vote in favour of buying intu – although this would have been more likely to succeed had the board been behind it.