Hammerson Rejects Surprise GBP4.5 Billion Klepierre Approach

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The Times reported the interest of Klepierre in Hammerson could threaten the all-share deal to merge with Intu announced in December.

Credit Suisse recently downgraded its stock rating on Hammerson, which owns Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre, to "neutral" from "outperform" and Intu from "neutral" to "underperform" as it noted both companies' portfolio values were likely to have been overstated, by as much as 13% in Intu's case.

Hammerson confirmed in a statement this morning that it recently received and rejected a highly preliminary and non-binding proposal from French real estate investment firm Klépierre regarding a possible cash-and-share offer, which valued the group at 615p per share.

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"The proposal from Klépierre is wholly inadequate and entirely opportunistic", Hammerson chairman David Tyler said in a statement. Shares in Intu Properties were flat at 204.00p.

"It is a calculated attempt to exploit the disconnect between our recent share price performance and the inherent value of our unique and irreplaceable portfolio, which is delivering record results". "The Board strongly advises shareholders to take no action".

"Accordingly, there can be no certainty that any offer will be made", it added.

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The board of Hammerson rejected the proposal the next day.

In addition, Hammerson believes the sale of at least 2 billion pounds of property which would follow the deal would give it capital to invest in high growth markets like Spain and Ireland as well as in premium outlets.

Klepierre said the proposal does not constitute an offer, and there is no certainty it will make a firm offer to acquire the company, though it has until April 16 to do so under takeover rules.

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It said a further announcement will be made "if and when appropriate".