Qatar Investment Agency and Canadian property firm lead billion pound takeover of Canary Wharf

Canary wharf. Pic: Julian Mason

Canary wharf. Pic: Julian Mason

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and global property company Brookfield Property Partners are close to buying the financial district of Canary Wharf after a billion pound battle in which both foreign companies will get combined ownership for £2.6 billion.

After several months of negotiations Songbird, the majority owner of the Canary Wharf Estate, accepted the offer, despite recommending shareholders earlier this month to reject any proposal below 350 pence-a-share, claiming it undervalued the company.

However, this morning the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and the Canadian company revealed their offer has been accepted, with 64.8% of shareholders supporting the move.

Both foreign businesses have significant interests in Canary Wharf. QIA owns 28.6 per cent of Songbird while Brookfield holds 22 per cent.

With the 28.6 per cent that the bidders already control, they now have an advantage of 93.6 per cent and will therefore be the new owners of the district.

QIA and Brookfield will now focus on gaining the remaining 6.4 per cent, following a 14 day extension, which will end at 1.00 pm February 12. They refused to make any comment on the negotiations.

The two companies started their pursuit of Songbird in November last year, where an initial bid of £2.2 billion was rejected. A revised offer made in December has now been approved.

Joe Bond, director of Abshire- Smith, an FX brokerage said: “The  longstanding bid by the Qataris adds to a list of high profile/value addresses and will be a strong asset.”

“This U-turn will expand Qatari presence in the UK and raise its influence in the country. QIA owns Harrods, Chelsea Barracks and the Shard, Europe’s tallest skyscraper.”

Bond said: “The Docklands financial district is a good example of investment and regeneration which is part of what makes London such a great city. Hopefully high profile acquisitions will be followed by further development to increase supply (both residential and commercial).”

Canary Wharf was established as the new financial district in London 25 years ago and it houses some of the world’s biggest banks such as HSBC and Barclays.



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