Hammerson withdraws takeover recommendation for rival Intu

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Bullring and Grand Central owner Hammerson said today that it is no longer recommending that shareholders vote in favour of its acquisition of Intu, which includes intu Merry Hill, just months after announcing an all-share offer for the firm.

Shopping centre giant Hammerson is pulling away from a deal to buy the company which owns Nottingham's Victoria and Broadmarsh centres.

Hammerson detailed the reasons it was withdrawing its recommendation, including that the stock market's view of the United Kingdom retail property market had "deteriorated" since the start of the year.

But Hammerson announced on Wednesday (April 18) it is no longer recommending its shareholders vote in favour of the final plan - blaming weakening consumer confidence and fears over the number of United Kingdom retail chains which have collapsed into administration in recent months.

Following a meeting between the two companies, Klepierre said it had made a decision to walk away from its takeover attempt because Hammerson "did not provide any meaningful engagement with respect to the increased proposal". "As a result, the board of Hammerson has concluded that the heightened risks associated with the Intu acquisition outweigh the long-term rewards that can be expected in comparison to other strategic options open to the company".

Hammerson would have become the biggest United Kingdom property company with £21bn in assets if the deal had gone through.

It said: "The board of intu is entirely confident of intu's commercial future and prospects".

However, Intu has hit back and noted that it regards as unsatisfactory the explanations given by the board of Hammerson for its withdrawal.

Another top ten Hammerson investor told Reuters on Wednesday that Klepierre's offer of 635 pence per share had drawn a line in the sand for the company's bosses to match or better.

Klepierre can not revive its bid for Hammerson for at least six months under British rules, unless Hammerson invites the French company back sooner.

For the Intu takeover to proceed, shareholders in both companies must vote on it at separate meetings.

Hammerson says that it will now undertake a review, including looking at possible disposals...

On Friday APG Asset Management, Hammerson's third-largest shareholder, said it would vote against the Intu purchase, citing the pressures on the United Kingdom retail industry and increased financial leverage. However, Hammerson said it would not hold its investor meeting if Intu and Britain's Takeover Panel agree.

"Hammerson, on a standalone basis, should be in a stronger position to allocate capital to its faster growing markets, such as premium outlets", analysts at Liberum said.

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