Canary Wharf backs Morgan Stanley bid

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The Independent Online

The board of Canary Wharf has backed an improved final £1.7bn bid from Morgan Stanley, rejecting an offer from Brascan that claimed to be more valuable.

The board of Canary Wharf has backed an improved final £1.7bn bid from Morgan Stanley, rejecting an offer from Brascan that claimed to be more valuable.

The recommendation of the independent directors of Canary Wharf did not come as a surprise. The company has preferred Morgan Stanley's various offers throughout the 10-month bid battle and analysts were yesterday predicting victory for the US investment bank.

Brascan had claimed that its offer was worth 348p a share for those electing to take equity. That appeared to be well ahead of the 295p a share in cash offered by Morgan Stanley.

Both offers remain on the table for shareholders, following the deadline of Friday last week that had been set by the Takeover Panel for final and best offers. The Canary Wharf board studied the rival offers over the weekend before making its recommendation.

"In light of the higher cash amount available from Songbird [the Morgan Stanley vehicle], the independent committee intends to recommend Songbird's offer to shareholders," Canary Wharf said.

Both sides have until Friday to post offer documents to shareholders. Investors have until 21 May to accept. If neither side gets 50 per cent, Canary Wharf remains a public company.

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