Whittaker Plans Possible Takeover Deal For Shopping Centre Giant Intu

Isle of Man billionaire John Whittaker’s Peel Group is considering a possible bid to take over shopping centre giant Intu.

Investment firm Peel Group is working with a group consisting of Saudi Arabia’s Olayan and Canada’s Brookfield on a possible offer for Intu, which owns 18 shopping centres across the UK including the Trafford and Arndale Centres in Manchester and Metrocentre in Gateshead.

The Press Association reported that in an announcement after the close of trading on Thursday, Mr Whittaker’s group said: ‘The consortium’s consideration of the possible offer is at a preliminary and exploratory stage and no approach has been made to the board of Intu.’

Mr Whittaker is deputy chairman of Intu and Peel Group holds around 26% in the shopping centre firm, while Olayan holds about 3.5%.

Shares in Intu rose almost 30% to 190.8p when the market opened today, giving it a value of about £2.5 billion.

Intu said it had not received an approach from the consortium, but added: ‘The board has formed an independent committee comprising all directors of Intu other than John Whittaker, who is connected to the consortium.’

‘The independent committee will consider any approach from the consortium, if made, and a further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.’

In this year’s Sunday Times Rich List John Whittaker and family were listed in 61st place and their fortune was estimated at £2.25 billion.

Mr Whittaker, who lives in the island, sold the Trafford Centre to Intu in 2011.

For almost 50 years, his Peel Group has been behind some of the north west of England’s biggest infrastructure projects such as the £400m Liverpool2 container terminal and MediaCityUK in Manchester.

Source: IOM Today