LONDON — British shopping centers giant Hammerson has put its plans to purchase Intu Properties on ice as it waits for an update from rival French realtor Klépierre, which had mounted a surprise bid for Hammerson last month.
In a first quarter update on Thursday, Hammerson said it saw “strong” leasing momentum across the U.K., France and Ireland following record activity in 2017.
In the trading statement, Hammerson confirmed that it was holding back shareholder voting documents for the Intu purchase until Klépierre made its latest intentions clear. Last month, the French operator swooped on Hammerson, offering 6.15 pounds per share which valued the potential deal at around 4.9 billion pounds. The company added that it believes its assets are now worth 7.90 pounds per share.
Hammerson, which operates or jointly operates properties including the Brent Cross shopping center in London, the upscale Bullring in Birmingham, which houses a branch of Selfridges, and the Value Retail villages in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany and Spain, swiftly knocked back the French offer, calling it “wholly inadequate and entirely opportunistic.”
Any takeover would have scuppered Hammerson’s plans to buy Intu, a fellow British company in a proposed 3.4 billion pounds deal. That merger would create a 21 billion pounds pan-European portfolio of retail and leisure destinations.
David Tyler, chairman of Hammerson, called the French offer 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.”
On Thursday, Hammerson said that as “Klépierre’s position remains unclear, the Board of Hammerson does not intend to finalize shareholder documents in relation to the proposed acquisition of Intu. The PUSU [put up or shut up] deadline for Klépierre is April 16, 2018.”
Under U.K. regulations, companies planning a takeover must make a firm offer within 28 days after expressing their interest in a target company.
Hammerson shares closed up 1.6 percent at 5.47 pounds on Thursday.