You should shop elsewhere

LIBERTY didn’t suffer as much as rivals during the recession, which is why it isn’t bouncing back quite so energetically. Consensus forecast for net asset value (NAV) per share was between 480p and 500p, but those expectations were always too high. That said, even the bears were disappointed by the actual NAV per share of 464p.

The demerger, while interesting, is no panacea and is unlikely to send the share price back up. If anything, the London-based business is looking distinctly cash-strapped, especially as it hopes to make profits by redeveloping its shopping centres in Covent Garden and Earl’s Court & Olympia.

The firm has already gone to shareholders cap-in-hand twice in the last year, raising a total of £872.5m.?It says it has no plans to raise more, but that leaves it with few options to tart up tatty shopping centres. Those investors that are bored of coughing up should sell off.


ROTHSCHILD is acting as Liberty’s financial adviser, with Alex Midgen heading up the team. Midgen recently advised Pets at Home on its acquisition by the private equity firm KKR. He also advised on several capital raisings in real estate during 2009, including Workspace, Bellway, Grainger, Songbird Estates and Shaftesbury.

In the same year he was an adviser in the notorious London Merchant Securities merger with Derwent London.

Midgen has spent 16 years at Rothschild and is an M&A banker specialising in real estate.

He was previously a chartered surveyor at DTZ. He graduated with a first from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and won the 2008 Rainmaker award for most successful consumer and leisure deal originator in the UK private equity mid-market.

Earlier in his career he was involved in selling MEPC to Hermes and GE Capital for £2bn in 2000, and Bryant Homes to Taylor Woodrow for £400m in 2001. In 2007 he advised Wilson Bowden on its sale to Barratt.

The 40-year-old sits on the board of Songbird as a non-executive director.