Fresh doubt thrown on deal to buy Manchester shopping centres

Trafford Centre

Hammerson’s £3.4bn deal to take over intu is “on a knife” edge, according to reports.

If the deal collapses, it could have wide-ranging impact on the struggling retail sector in the UK.

Hammerson is one of the largest shopping centre owners in the UK and it would gain control of the Trafford Centre and the Arndale Centre which are currently owned by intu as part of the deal.

However, according to reports in The Sunday Times over the weekend, Hammerson could decide to renegotiate or ditch the deal to buy intu after shareholders became disgruntled over the firm’s handling of its handling of a takeover bid last week from French mall operator Klépierre, which would have seen them receive 635p a share.

The Sunday Times reports that one high-ranking investor told them: “I’m pretty appalled and angry with them. They’ve reacted in exactly the way we didn’t want them to — giving the impression they’re willing while doing just enough to frustrate the other party, to the extent that nothing happens.”

And it has also emerged Dutch pension giant APG Asset Management will vote against Hammerson’s £3.4bn acquisition.

In a public letter to Hammerson, APG, which is the second largest shareholder of Hammerson with a 7.1% stake, stated that although it had an active dialogue with the company and had considered information that was shared, that had not changed its view that the deal was “insufficiently attractive” for Hammerson shareholders.

Meanwhile, another said he would “struggle to support” any deal with intu.

Hammerson issued a statement on Friday confirming that the Klépierre deal was dead.

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