US suitor lifts Capital stock

Marion Dakers
SHARES in Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) rocketed yesterday after US mall owner Simon Property revealed it had made an initial takeover approach for the company.

Simon wrote to CSC on Tuesday, the day before CSC announced its £1.6bn offer for the Trafford Centre in Manchester, to urge the firm to postpone its purchase and share offering until Simon could make an all-cash takeover offer.

CSC refused the request, and added yesterday “it was not in shareholders’ interests to delay the placing”.

The firm announced its deal with Trafford Centre owner Peel Holdings yesterday morning, alongside a successful £221m share placing to help fund the deal and lower its own debts.

CSC yesterday scheduled an extraordinary meeting for 20 December to allow investors to vote on the Trafford Centre acquisition and discuss the possibility of a takeover by Simon.

The purchase of the Trafford Centre, if accepted by shareholders, will hand a 24.9 per cent stake in CSC and the deputy chairman job to current Trafford owner and billionaire property investor John Whittaker.

Analysts at JP Morgan said of the deal: “Although we do not believe the Trafford purchase would be a bargain at five per cent initial yield, the centre looks a perfect fit in CSC’s portfolio. In addition, the announced equity placing was hanging in the air and we welcome the potential leverage reduction.”

Capital Shopping’s shares closed 12.9 per cent up at 381p yesterday, valuing the firm’s issued shares at £2.12bn.

Simon said its potential offer would be “at an unspecified premium” to the company’s current valuation.

DAVID Simon was named chairman of the board of directors of the group in October of 2007.
He had served as chief executive of Simon Property Group since 1995. He was president of the firm from 1993.

Simon Property Group is the largest real estate company in the US. It owns or has an interest in 393 properties comprising 264m square feet of gross leasable area across the US, Europe and Asia.

Its portfolio includes Premium Outlets and The Mills malls. It is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana and employs more than 5,000 people. It is listed on the NYSE.

Its international expansion is usually based on partnerships with established players with a knowledge of local markets. It owns an interest in 51 European shopping centres; eight Premium Outlet Centers in Japan; and one Premium Outlet Center in both South Korea and Mexico.

Simon Property is believed to have taken on Citigroup to advise on the CSC deal, though Citi refused to confirm this to City A.M. yesterday.