Land Securities shops for Goodman's Tops Estates

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The Independent Online

Everard Goodman, the chairman of Tops Estates, is to walk away with £120m after agreeing to sell the quoted property company he set up more than two decades ago to Land Securities.

Everard Goodman, the chairman of Tops Estates, is to walk away with £120m after agreeing to sell the quoted property company he set up more than two decades ago to Land Securities.

The deal valued the ordinary shares of Tops, which owns shopping centres, at £236.8m in cash, delivering Mr Goodman £113m for his 47.7 per cent stake in the shares. In addition, he will receive about £7m for the convertible loan stock he owns. Land Securities will also be taking on £207.3m of net debt, giving the deal an enterprise value of £517.2m.

Mr Goodman, 73, set up Tops Estates in September 1982, with £500,000 worth of assets. He floated it on the London Stock Exchange in early 1983 at the equivalent of 2.5p a share. The acquisition of Tops is worth 515p a share.

Mr Goodman said yesterday: "Land Securities is well placed to continue to develop further the assets of Tops Estates and to capitalise on its existing resources, knowledge and experience in the town and city centre shopping centre development market."

Retirement does not lie ahead for Mr Goodman, who has other business interests. "It'll be back to the grindstone for me... you've got to be creative," he said.

Mr Goodman first floated a company, another property venture, 46 years ago, for which he accepted a takeover bid in 1971 - after he had suffered a near-fatal car accident.

For Land Securities, the deal increases its presence in the retail sector. Last year the company decided to sell out of industrial property to focus on retail and offices.

Francis Salway, the chief executive of Land Securities, said: "Land Securities has one of the leading property businesses in the UK, with over £8bn currently invested. The acquisition of Tops Estates will further strengthen our position in the retail sector, enabling us to capitalise on the synergies arising from managing an enlarged portfolio of shopping centres."

Tops Estates' property portfolio comprises shopping centres with a total gross area of about 230,000 square metres in seven locations - three in the North of England, three in the Midlands and one in London. The property portfolio was independently valued at £566.7m.

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