SONGBIRD Estates, the company behind Canary Wharf, has formally rejected a £2.6bn takeover offer from its Qatari shareholder.
Songbird said yesterday it will not accept the 350p-a-share offer by the Qatari Investment Authority (QIA) and Brookfield, on the grounds that it does not reflect “the full value of the business, its unique operating platform and its prospects”.
Songbird pointed out that the offer is at a “significant” 8.1 per cent discount to Songbird’s net asset value of 381p per share, and that it gives no value to “the potential of Canary Wharf Group to earn development profits”.
Despite the rejection from the board, the bidders still have until 29 January to win the backing of one of the major shareholders – China Investment Corporation, Morgan Stanley and investor Simon Glick. If rejected, QIA and Brookfield will have to walk away for 12 months.
Songbird said trio are still evaluating the offer and have “not reached a decision on whether or not to accept it”, signalling that a takeover could still take place.
QIA already owns a 28.6 per cent stake and would only need the support of one major shareholder to win control. Holders of around 32 per cent of the firm’s free float have backed the bid.