Qatar wins the battle for Canary Wharf as majority owner Songbird recommends £2.6 billion bid

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Songbird told shareholders as recently as January 12 to reject the offer, saying it undervalued the company.

But in a surprise U-turn, it has changed its stance after the Qatar Investment Authority-led bid won the backing of the holders of 86% of its shares.

“The Board recommends that, in the event that the offer becomes or is declared unconditional as to acceptances, Shareholders should accept the offer,” Songbird said in a statement.


However, it reiterated that it believes the price tag “does not reflect the full value of the business, its unique operating platform and its prospects.”

The QIA and Brookfield started its pursuit of Songbird in November with an initial £2.2 billion approach in December, which was rebuffed. It came back with the higher bid the following month.

Both parties already have significant interest in Canary Wharf. The QIA owns 28.6% of Songbird, while Brookfield holds 22% of Canary Wharf Group.

A major sticking point on the deal had been the approval of Songbird’s other major shareholders the China Investment Corporation, New York-based investor Simon Glick and Morgan Stanley, who together own more than 50% of Songbird shares.

Songbird said it understood that they now intend to accept the revised £2.6 billion offer.

It comes as Canary Wharf is preparing to add two major new developments to its docklands estate: a 60-storey residential tower and a 20-acre waterside site comprising residential and commercial property and retail space.

It will add to Qatar’s already significant presence in London, including the Shard, department store Harrods and the former London 2012 Olympic Village.

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January 28, 2015 |
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