I noted back in February that property group Hammerson (HMSO) had ludicrously turned down a Hail Mary bid approach - at approximately a 70% share price premium to the then share price - and was consequently (correctly) being hassled by activist investors. Roll forward five months and all of this counts for double with the shares driven lower by further property sector pessimism…
Well it has taken a few months but the sentiment I expressed back in December that Hammerson's (HMSO) proposed takeover of Intu (INTU) was 'shopping centre madness' has finally been agreed with - the former walking away from its bid. The reasons, however, are truly fascinating with the regulatory statement from Hammerson blaming that easy punchbag 'the equity market':
Bizarre news of the day among the larger cap stocks on Wednesday was undoubtedly the announcement that property behemoth Hammerson (HMSO) was buying shopping centre peer Intu (INTU) with a £3 billion+ all share (naturally) offer which creates a 'top three pan-European REIT' (real estate investment trust) with £21 billion of property baggage on its book. And, yes, you have guessed it, the transaction will be earnings accretive despite synergy levels (£25 million) that are more like a rounding error.
Hello, Share Throwers. They tell me that shopping centres are not in favour as much as they used to be. Perhaps it’s because we’re beginning to adopt the irritating American habit of calling them malls. But it’s more likely to be the advance of internet selling. However, the public will never abandon the strong British pastime of real shopping. And so I believe the present level of popularity will hold fast and may even improve. And it will if we ever, as a society, find ourselves with more leisure time. Technology hasn’t done the trick so far, but it might do.
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