Reichmann prepares his own bid for Canary Wharf

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The Independent Online

Paul Reichmann, the founder and chairman of Canary Wharf, said yesterday that he will put together his own offer for the property giant after deciding that the other two bidders were trying to buy the company on the cheap.

It is understood that Mr Reichmann is only intending to bid reluctantly, and would "prefer all potential bids to fall away". A consortium of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs has already put in an indicative offer for the company, as has rival bidder Brascan, a Canadian property group.

Both have courted Mr Reichmann, an 8 per cent shareholder. But he has concluded that neither of those bidders will offer value to shareholders and both are seeking to exploit bottom-of-the-cycle conditions in the property market. He feels the process has gathered such momentum that many shareholders expect to sell out and so force him to put an alternative proposition before investors.

A source close to Mr Reichmann said: "He feels that it is his duty to other shareholders to see if he can get them a better price. He wants to make sure that shareholders are not short-changed." The entry of the entrepreneur behind the giant office development in London's Docklands could force existing bidders to raise their price. It is thought existing bidders are offering less than 300p per share.

Canary Wharf aims to name a preferred bidder in the middle of this month. Mr Reichmann does not expect to meet this timetable and will make his offer later. He would be happy for shareholders not wishing to sell to stay as minority investors.

A statement to the stock market from Mr Reichmann, based in Toronto, said: "IPC Advisors, a company owned by members of the family of Mr Paul Reichmann, announces its intention to form a consortium of investors to make an offer for Canary Wharf Group." He added: "IPC Advisors is committed to maintaining the integrity of the Canary Wharf estate and seeing the Canary Wharf vision through to completion by carrying out its future development plans." Shares in Canary Wharf rose 4.5p to 273.5p yesterday after news of Mr Reichmann's intentions.

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