Hammerson acquire Intu shopping centres in £3.4m deal

Hammerson
The facade of the Bullring in Birmingham.

UK Shopping centre owner Hammerson (LON:HMSO) has agreed a £3.4 billion takeover of rival Intu.

Hammerson, which owns the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham alongside Lakeside in Essex, has agreed the deal to acquire Intu, which owns the discount designer outlet Bicester village and London’s Brent Cross shopping centre.

John Strachan, chairman of Intu, said: “Intu offers high-quality retail and leisure destinations in the UK and Spain, which, when merged with Hammerson’s own top-quality assets in the UK, in France and in Ireland, present a highly attractive proposition for retailers and shoppers in Europe’s leading cities.”

Hammerson chairman David Tyler said: “This transaction will deliver real value for shareholders. The financial strength of the enlarged group and its strong leadership team will make it well-placed to take advantage of higher growth opportunities on a pan-European scale.”

The deal comes amid a turbulent trading environment for retail in the U.K, with a marked fall in footfall in recent years as shoppers increasingly turn to online shopping outlets.

The latest retail figures revealed that retail sales slightly rebounded for November according to the latest CBI survey, however, October figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) saw sales dip 0.3 percent.

Nevertheless, the move will allow for Hammerson to better compete with its competitors such as Westfield.

Westfield recently announced plans to construct a new shopping centre in in Croydon, South London.

In addition, the retail group is overseeing a £600 million expansion of its White City location, with John Lewis and Primark set to open its doors at the west London shopping mall.

With Christmas fast approaching, retailers will be hoping to offset declines in sales and a relatively disappointing Black Friday weekend turnout.

All in all, the figures from the British Retail Consortium for November revealed that overall UK retail sales increased by 0.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis since last year, having previously increased 0.6 per cent since November 2015.

Shares in Hammerson are currently down 3.39 percent as of 13.13 as the market react to the announcement.