Shopping centre giants Hammerson and Intu to merge

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Hammerson's properties include the Bullring in Birmingham

Also on Wednesday, Hammerson announced the sale of its 75%-owned Saint Sébastien shopping centre in Nancy, France for a net vendor price of €162m (£143m), moderately below 30 June 2017 book value. As the news emerged, shares in Intu rose 19% while Hammerson fell 3%.

Intu owns the Lakeside shopping centre and the Trafford Centre in Manchester, while Hammerson owns Bicester Village designer outlet and Brent Cross shopping centre. Intu's deputy chairman John Whittaker will be given the same role in the enlarged company, while its chairman John Strachan will join the board as senior non-executive director.

David Atkins, chief executive of Hammerson, said: "Bringing together the high-quality portfolios of both companies establishes Hammerson as a larger, leading European retail REIT, enhances shareholder returns and supports opportunities for long-term growth".

The combined group will target fast-growing markets in Spain and Ireland.

Notts TV has contacted Intu and Hammerson to ask if the deal will have any affect on the planned £100 million redevelopment of the Broadmarsh centre, now expected to start in 2018 after a two-year delay.

Mr Strachan said: "A combination of both Intu and Hammerson will create a more resilient, diversified and stronger group that we believe will benefit all our stakeholders".

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"When merged with Hammerson's top-quality assets in the United Kingdom, in France and in Ireland, it presents a highly attractive proposition for retailers and shoppers". "I am proud of the financial and operational success that Intu's management team has delivered and pleased to see that the intu brand will continue".

Hammerson shareholders will own 55% of the combined firm and Intu investors the rest.

David Atkins added: "This marks an exciting milestone in the history of Hammerson".

Seeing Hammerson has received support from shareholders holding 51% of Intu's stock, plans to strengthen the balance sheet and provide funds for reinvestment with a £2bn property disposal programme once the deal is concluded and expect to make efficiency savings of at least £25m per year by the end of the second year at a cost of around £40m.

THE owner of Merry Hill shopping centre has been bought in a £3.4billion takeover by the owners of Birmingham's Bull Ring.