Songbird share price up as commercial property investment group agrees Canary Wharf sale
Shares in Songbird Estate (LON:SBD) soared over six percent this morning after the AIM-listed commercial property investment firm dropped its opposition to a £2.6 billion Qatari-led bid for London’s Canary Wharf. Songbird said in a surprise statement today that it recommended that its minority shareholders — Glick, China Investment Corp and Morgan Stanley Investment Management — accepted the offer as well, but stressed that it “continues to believe that the offer does not reflect the full value” of the financial district.
Qatar Investment Authority’s (QIA) commercial property investment push came after the sovereign wealth fund and its bidding partner, US investor Brookfield Property Partners, launched a 350p-a-share offer for Canary Wharf in December. QIA already controls 28.6 percent of Songbird, but the consortium needed to win over shareholders of more than 50 percent of the remaining stock for its offer to be successful.
Songbird revealed today that shareholder support for QIA and Brookfield now meant the bidders would hold around 85.6 percent of the stock. “It is now the board’s understanding that each of the major shareholders intends to accept the offer,” the London commercial property firm said.
Songbird further warned that the consortium might take the company off AIM in order to seize control, which would mean “a risk that shareholders who do not accept the offer could, as a result, own a minority interest in an unlisted company controlled by QIA and Brookfield and would no longer be afforded the protections available to them whilst the company remains a listed public company”.
If agreed before Thursday’s deadline, the consortium’s offer would become unconditional. The deal would add to Qatar’s already significant presence in London, including the Shard, department store Harrods and the former London 2012 Olympic Village.