Austrian M&A Maverick Pecik Builds Stake in Immofinanz

(Bloomberg) -- Ronny Pecik, a key shareholder of Austrian landlord S Immo AG, has bought about 11% of S Immo’s cross-town rival Immofinanz AG, giving him additional influence to push for a possible merger of the two property firms.

Pecik bought the stake with Slovak property mogul Peter Korbacka from a group of investors led by Rudolf Fries, Immofinanz said, confirming a report by Bloomberg News. Fries and his family’s trust sold at 29.50 euros a share, a 27% premium to Friday’s closing price. At this level, Pecik’s stake is worth 354 million euros ($389 million).

The deal marks a historical change for Immofinanz, which has counted Fries as a key shareholder ever since he bought his first stake in 2008. The lawyer, based in the spa town of Baden an hour south of Vienna, is Immofinanz’s deputy chairman of the supervisory board.

By replacing Fries, Pecik, who owns 14% of S Immo together with a partner, is becoming the key player in the two companies and may push for revisiting merger plans abandoned last year, a deal that would create a combined group with about 7 billion euros worth of properties.

Read more:

Vienna Property Deal Nears Endgame as Maverick Steps In (Dec. 19)

Immofinanz Abandons Merger Talks With Rival Austrian Landlord (Nov. 26)

Austrian Risk-Taker Pecik Strikes Again With S Immo Windfall (2018)

Immofinanz Upends Austrian Property After Sternlicht Steps In (2018)

A selfmade electrician-turned-investor, Pecik got rich with timely takeover bets, for which he has in the past sought partners with deeper pockets. That approach worked at Telekom Austria AG, where he brought in America Movil, now the operator’s majority owner. Two years ago, he already made money with an S Immo stake he then sold to Immofinanz with significant profit.

S Immo and Immofinanz own stakes in each other but broke off talks about a combination in November. Those plans could be rekindled as Pecik and S Immo now own 23% of Immofinanz together, giving them significant voting power at Immofinanz’s general meeting.

S Immo, Immofinanz and CA Immobilien Anlagen AG, a third listed property firm controlled by Starwood Capital, have been engaged in friendly merger talks as well as hostile takeover efforts for more than a decade. The last setback was Immofinanz’s failed merger with S Immo. Analysts and investors have been arguing that a combined entity would be able to lower operating and funding costs.

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