CSC refuses Simon’s plan for Peel deal

Marion Dakers
N Pr

N Property tried to give takeover target Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) a peace offering linked to its £1.6bn purchase of the Trafford Centre yesterday, after weeks of trying to block the deal.

However, Capital rejected Simon’s offer of £800m to help fund the purchase last night, because it meant the US group taking a bigger stake in the company and would obliterate the stake given to Trafford Centre owner Peel Holdings, one source close to the firm said last night.

The deal agreed last month would give Peel Holdings a 20 per cent stake in Capital, worth 367p a share, and install its chairman John Whittaker on the board of directors.

Simon, the world’s biggest shopping mall owner, argued Peel was getting shares at an unfair discount to CSC’s net asset value.

Chief executive and chairman David Simon said in a letter to the CSC board yesterday it had been speaking to other shareholders “who have expressed similar concerns”.

The American firm yesterday offered to underwrite a Capital share issue of 205.5m shares at 400p each and give the cash proceeds to Peel instead of a share holding.

Simon asked for a stake in Capital of between 18.4 and 27 per cent as part of the new offer, depending on whether other investors join the share placing.

Earlier, Simon had pleaded with Capital to suspend the purchase of the shopping centre near Manchester while it prepared a takeover offer.

Capital has an emergency general meeting planned for 20 December to let investors vote on the Trafford Centre deal with Peel Holdings, and Simon has now urged for this to be postponed.

“We are deeply disappointed that CSC has failed to give our proposal due consideration, and in so doing, has ignored the concerns of both Simon and other long-term CSC shareholders,” said Simon last night.