Hammerson plc, which operates 17 UK retail parks, as well as shopping centres and outlets across the UK and Europe has made an all-share offer to acquire Intu, with a view to create a £21billion pan-European portfolio.
The boards of the two companies have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended all-share offer by Hammerson to acquire the entire issued and to-be issued share capital of Intu.
Intu Properties operates 14 shopping centres across the UK, including Lakeside and the Trafford Centre in Manchester. It expanded its reach into Spain in 2015.
The boards of Intu and Hammerson, believe that there is a compelling strategic rationale for the acquisition, which will bring together the retail property portfolios of the two firms and their combined expertise “to create a leading European retail real estate investment trust (REIT) with a strong income profile and superior growth prospects”.
The acquisition will result in Hammerson shareholders owning 55% of the enlarged business.
Both boards believe that, following the acquisition, the ‘enlarged group’ will be better placed to enhance its position within its geographic markets and across its retail formats, allowing for “a more efficient and adaptable platform allowing it to respond to fast-changing consumer preferences and retail trends”.
Hammerson’s portfolio boasts 23 shopping centres, including Brent Cross in London, Union Square in Aberdeen, Centrale in Croydon, and several in France and Ireland. It also operates a number of retail parks across the UK – home to the likes of B&Q, Pets at Home, Homebase, M&S and DFS - and the rest of Europe, as well as other major developments, such as Croydon town centre, which sees it team up with Westfield to transform the two major shopping centres.
Hammerson chief executive David Atkins said: “This marks an exciting milestone in the history of Hammerson... The acquisition creates a leading pan-European platform of desirable retail and leisure destinations which are better positioned to serve the needs of our retailers, excite our customers and support our partners and communities. 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.”
The ‘enlarged group’ will be led by CEO David Atkins, and CFO Timon Drakesmith, and will be called “Hammerson plc”.
Hammerson chairman David Tyler will assume his same role at the newly-merged company, whilst Intu deputy chairman John Whittaker will also retain his title. Intu chairman John Strachan, meanwhile, will join the board of the group as senior independent director.