Peel helps CSC in Simon fight

Marion Dakers
SIMON Property’s efforts to influence Capital Shopping Centres’ £1.6bn purchase of the Trafford Centre crumbled further yesterday after seller Peel Holdings threw its weight behind CSC.

Peel said yesterday it “has no intention of selling the Trafford Centre for cash and this has never been an aim of the group – in spite of the fact that … a cash sale would achieve a higher price”. Its support comes after a flurry of strongly-worded statements between the firms over the weekend.

Simon, the world’s biggest shopping centre owner, offered to underwrite a 400p-per-share placing for CSC to help fund the transaction, providing Peel gave up its claim to a 20 per cent stake in the enlarged company and took cash instead.

CSC rejected the offer on Sunday.

Simon, which currently holds a 5.6 per cent stake in CSC and hopes to delay the Trafford Centre sale in order to make a takeover offer, will face the firm at an emergency general meeting set for 20 December.

“The Simon Group takeover moves from unlikely to seemingly impossible,” said Evolution Securities analyst John Cahill in a note.

However, others believed Simon could strike again before CSC shareholders can approve the Trafford Centre deal next week. “We do not believe Simon has exhausted all its options,” analysts at JPMorgan Cazenove said in a note. “An indicative offer for CSC still has a high chance, but so has an offer including Trafford Centre or the arrival of a third party.”

Simon claims it already has the support of some CSC shareholders.

Shares in CSC closed up 0.9 per cent at 393.5p yesterday.