A £2.8bn deal to buy shopping centre giant Intu Properties has been scrapped.
Intu said the market conditions meant the consortium – led by John Whittaker’s Peel Group – could not continue with the proposed offer within the timeframe set out by the City takeover rules.
Mr Whittaker, chairman of The Peel Group, said: ” “We remain fully committed to intu Properties as a long-term, strategic shareholder, as demonstrated by our participation in the consortium’s possible offer.
“Intu’s portfolio of super regional and prime city centre shopping centres is trading strongly and benefitting from the retailer store rationalisation process that is currently underway in the UK.
“Physical retail continues to play a key role in all successful multi-channel retailer sales strategies and intu’s national portfolio of centres enjoys some of the highest customer footfall in the country.”
He added: “There is also significant potential to add to the portfolio through development of under-utilised land for alternative uses such as residential, hotels and offices, creating critical mass in order to provide unparalleled, winning shopping and leisure destinations and experiences, across the UK and Spain.
“The Peel Group looks forward to continuing to work closely with the board and the company’s other supportive, long-term shareholders to deliver on the Company’s planned investment programme.”.”
In a statement Intu said: “Whilst market sentiment towards retail and retail property remains negative, intu is confident of its commercial prospects which are underpinned by market leadership in UK regional shopping centres, clear focus on the highest quality assets and resilient operational performance in a challenging market.”
It warned that recent high-profile retail collapses, such as House of Fraser, have hit its full-year rental income by about 1.5 per cent, leaving like-for-like growth at between 0 per cent and 1 per cent.
It expects like-for-like rental income growth to remain between 0 per cent and 1 per cent in 2019.