John Whittaker, the deputy chairman of Intu, is believed to be considering a £2bn deal to take over the shopping centre developer that owns venues such as Lakeside in Essex and the Trafford Centre in Manchester.
Whittaker currently owns 27% of the company and has formed a consortium via his investment firm Peel Group, US asset manager Brookfield and Saudi Arabia’s Olayan on a possible bid for the remaining stake of the company.
In a statement the consortium said: “The Peel Group , The Olayan Group and Brookfield Property Group on behalf of funds or vehicles which are managed or advised by it note the recent press speculation and confirm that the consortium is in the preliminary stages of considering a possible cash offer for the issued (and to be issued) share capital of Intu not already owned by members of the Consortium.
“The Consortium’s consideration of the possible offer is at a preliminary and exploratory stage and no approach has been made to the board of Intu. There can be no certainty that any transaction will ultimately be forthcoming, nor can there be any certainty as to the terms of any such transaction.”
The consortium has until November to make a firm offer under takeover rules. Intu confirmed it has not yet received an offer, but said: “The board has formed an independent committee comprising all directors of Intu other than John Whittaker, who is connected to the consortium.
“The independent committee will consider any approach from the consortium, if made, and a further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”