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Shopping Centres

Whittaker-led consortium abandons £2.8bn Intu offer

John Whittaker’s consortium has decided to scrap its bid to acquire Intu Properties following three extensions blaming the “uncertainty around current macroeconomic conditions” and the “potential near-term volatility across markets”.

On 4 October 2018 a consortium comprising the Peel Group, the Olayan Group and Brookfield Property Group announced they were in the preliminary stages of considering a possible cash offer for Intu in the region of £2.8bn.

“Good progress” was made with the consortium over the following weeks, with three extensions to the original firm offer deadline of 1 November 2018 made to enable them to continue their work.

However the consortium has now made the decision not to push forward with the deal, despite Whittaker confirming it remained “fully committed” to the shopping centre owner.

Whittaker said: “We remain fully committed to Intu Properties as a long term, strategic shareholder, as demonstrated by our participation in the consortium’s possible offer. Intu’s portfolio of super regional and prime city centre shopping centres is trading strongly and benefitting from the retailer store rationalisation process that is currently underway in the UK.  

“Physical retail continues to play a key role in all successful multi-channel retailer sales strategies and Intu’s national portfolio of centres enjoys some of the highest customer footfall in the country. There is also significant potential to add to the portfolio through development of underutilised land for alternative uses such as residential, hotels and offices, creating critical mass in order to provide unparalleled, winning shopping and leisure destinations and experiences, across the UK and Spain.”

He added: “The Peel Group looks forward to continuing to work closely with the board and the company’s other supportive, long-term shareholders to deliver on the company’s planned investment programme.”

In a statement Intu added: “Whilst market sentiment towards retail and retail property remains negative, intu is confident of its commercial prospects which are underpinned by market leadership in UK regional shopping centres, clear focus on the highest quality assets and resilient operational performance in a challenging market, as evidenced in this announcement and the previous trading update issued on 23 October 2018.”

The news comes after Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley vowed to close all his stores located in Intu shopping centres following a rent row over four House of Fraser stores.

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