A £1.6bn takeover offer for Songbird Estates has been rejected by the Canary Wharf owner.
The offer, at 295p per share, was made by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and US investor Brookfield Property Partners.
The Qatari sovereign wealth fund already holds a 29 per cent stake in Songbird, whose investment portfolio is worth £6.3bn. If a deal had gone ahead, it would have been Britain's biggest property deal in a decade.
But this morning, the board of directors at Songbird Estates, which owns the Canary Wharf financial district in East London, unanimously rejected the offer, saying that it did not reflect its value.
In a statement, Songbird chairman David Pritchard said:
This proposal significantly undervalues Songbird and does not reflect the inherent value of the business and its underlying assets. The group has an exceptional management team with a clear vision to deliver additional shareholder value, including from our 11 million square foot development pipeline, the largest in London.
Shares in Songbird dropped by 2.8 per cent to £3.11 in trading following the rejection. This reflects a sharp turn in investor sentiment, after Thursday’s initial offer resulted in shares surging by more than a fifth to £3.20.
Qatar backed a £10bn rescue rights issue and debt restructuring when Canary Wharf was suffering during the global financial crisis.
It is not only Canary Wharf that the Arab nation has shown interest in, however – Qatari investors already own Harrods department store, Chelsea Barracks and part of the Shard.