CSC revises takeover bid for The Trafford Centre

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The Independent Online

Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) has revised the terms of its proposed acquisition for The Trafford Centre, in a move to strengthen its defence against a takeover bid of the UK-based company by the US mall operator Simon Property.

But Simon hit back, reaffirming its stance that the takeover price for the shopping centre near Manchester – owned by the billionaire John Whittaker's Peel Group – is still too high.

In November, CSC which owns 13 shopping centres, including Lakeside in Essex, revealed it was in talks to buy the Trafford Centre from Peel, in a deal worth £1.6bn, including debt and equity.

This would have seen Mr Whittaker become CSC's biggest shareholder, with 19.9 per cent. But this spurred Simon, an existing CSC shareholder, to launch a 425p a share takeover bid for CSC, which the UK-company has vehemently rejected.

Simon Property has until 12 January to make its intentions regarding CSC clear under a Takeover Panel ruling. In response, CSC said yesterday it now proposes that the shares in respect of the deal will be issued at 400p, a 9 per cent premium to the initial offer of 368p. As a result, the number of shares Peel will receive will be trimmed from 224.1 million to 205.9 million, which in turn would reduce the shareholding of Mr Whittaker's company to 23.2 per cent.

CSC has also re-evaluated its potential net asset value to 625p a share – two pounds higher than the 425p offered by Simon Property – based on CSC identifying "incremental value opportunities" that imply a net access value of 536p a share. This is in addition to an evaluation by the property firm DTZ – based on CSC theoretically putting its properties on the market – of a further 89p a share.

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