Three Hammerson Shareholders Express Dissent on Intu Purchase

(Bloomberg) -- One of the top 15 shareholders of Hammerson Plc said it doubts the merits of the British mall owner’s plan to buy rival Intu Properties Plc for about 3.5 billion pounds ($4.04 billion), joining two other investors in voicing concerns about the proposal.

The shareholders expressed their dissent on the same day that France’s Klepierre SA abandoned its own 5 billion-pound bid for Hammerson, sending Hammerson’s shares down 9 percent in London trading Friday. Hammerson’s management must show that an acquisition of Intu would generate greater value for investors than what they would have received from accepting Klepierre’s offer, a representative of the top-15 shareholder said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

A representative for another investor, whose stake in Hammerson is between 10 million and 100 million pounds, said it will vote against the Intu deal. The person, who also asked not to be identified, said Hammerson’s defense against a takeover by Klepierre was based on financial measures such as discount to net asset value of the company’s properties, which would have been different with Intu included.

A spokeswoman for London-based Hammerson declined to comment.

Earlier Friday, APG Asset Management, Hammerson’s third-largest shareholder, said it would vote against the Intu purchase, citing the pressures on the U.K. retail industry and increased financial leverage. APG is a partner with Hammerson in Value Retail outlet malls.

Shopping-mall owners are combining as they try to cut costs and focus on premium properties, making them more attractive to retailers that are opening fewer stores as internet sales rise. In the U.S., GGP Inc. agreed to a takeover by Brookfield Property partners LP, and Unibail-Rodamco SE has a deal to acquire Australia’s Westfield Corp.

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