Share price plummets as Whittaker withdraws
Intu has been jilted for the second time in a year as the consortium led by deputy chairman John Whittaker has withdrawn its offer to take the company private. The share price crashed 36% from 192p to 122p on the news. Whittaker and his backers, the Canadian investor Brookfield and the Saudi-based Olayan Group, had indicated they were prepared to offer 210p a share for the company.
The consortium had completed its due diligence after being granted three extensions to the offer deadline under the Takeover Code. In a Stock Exchange statement the bidders said: “Given the uncertainty around current macroeconomic conditions and the potential near-term volatility across markets, the consortium is not able to proceed with an offer within a timeframe which is manageable within the confines of the Code timetable.”
The stock market now values intu at £2.6bn, although the company maintains its property portfolio is worth £9.6bn. In a bid to calm the market’s jitters intu issued a statement of its own. “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 said.