Hammerson bids £3.4bn for intu

Agreed deal to create £21bn pan-European shopping centre giant

Hammerson has launched an agreed bid for fellow shopping-centre specialist intu. The deal has the backing of the intu board and significantly intu’s largest shareholder, Trafford Centre developer John Whittaker, has thrown his weight behind Hammerson’s move and will become deputy chairman of the combined company.

The new company will be called Hammerson, although the intu name will be retained as a consumer brand within the larger portfolio. Key positions have gone to Hammerson directors with Hammerson’s David Tyler, David Atkins and Timon Drakesmith becoming chairman, CEO and CFO respectively. Intu’s chairman John Strachan will become senior independent director.

In a joint statement the Hammerson and intu boards said they believed there is a compelling strategic rationale for the acquisition, which will bring together their high-quality retail property portfolios and their combined expertise to create a leading European retail REIT with a strong income profile and superior growth prospects. However, £2bn of assets will be immediately put up for sale as part of a rationalisation of the combined portfolio.

Both boards believe the enlarged group will be better placed to enhance its position in its geographic markets and across its retail formats, with a more efficient and adaptable platform allowing it to respond to fast changing consumer preferences and retail trends.

Hammerson chief executive David Atkins said: “This marks an exciting milestone in the history of Hammerson. Bringing together the high-quality portfolios of both companies establishes Hammerson as a larger, leading European retail REIT, enhances shareholder returns and supports opportunities for long-term growth. I hold Intu’s high-quality centres in high regard and I look forward to working with a strengthened team to enhance the performance of our entire portfolio.”

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