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Qatari-led takeover offer fails to sway Songbird Estates board

Canary Wharf Group owner Songbird Estates has rejected a Qatari-led takeover bid worth £2.6bn.

The firm said it remained “unmoved in its view” that the offer of £3.50 per share by Qatar Investment Authority and US investor Brookfield Property Partners undervalued the company.

The companies had previously offered £2.95 per share in cash, which Songbird board members said had “materially undervalued” the business and was “unanimously” rejected.

Following the rejection, Songbird estimated the business was worth £2.8bn on a net asset value basis, which it drew attention to in today’s City update.

QIA and Brookfield formally published their final offer of £3.50 per share on 30 December.

The Songbird board said the offer was at a “significant discount” of 8.1 per cent of the group’s estimated net asset value of £2.8bn, which equates to £3.81 per share.

Songbird independent chairman David Pritchard said: “The offer gives no value for Canary Wharf Group’s potential to earn development profits or for the growth potential of the existing estate, and fails to take into account the value for its control of the estate.”

QIA and Brookfield Property Partners said they had commitments to the Songbird deal from three shareholders – Third Avenue Management, Madison International and EMS Capital – totalling around 32 per cent of the company’s free float.

But a deal needed the support of Songbird’s other major shareholders, which include Glick Entities (25.9 per cent), China Investment Core (15.8 per cent) and Morgan Stanley (8.5 per cent).

QIA already owns 28.6 per cent of Songbird and Brookfield Property Partners has a 22 per cent stake in the Canary Wharf Group.

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