Westfield joins Centro on 19.9%
Westfield Trust increased its stake in AMP Shopping Centre Trust from 16.92% to 19.9% today.
The AMP trust then dropped a bombshell for the initial takeover bidder, Centro Property Group, saying a successful Centro bid, including replacement of the trust manager, was likely to breach 5 co-ownership agreements (with 2 other AMP entities) if those co-owners didn’t agree to the bid.
The AMP trust said if the breach wasn’t rectified, the co-owner could require the trust to sell the co-owned property to the co-owner at market value. The trust said $A1 billion of its portfolio was tied up in this way.
It also said a summary of these agreements was contained in its initial offer prospectus in 1997, and that these pre-emptive & default rights “are consistent with industry practice.”
Centro said the prospectus didn’t disclose the fact that a change a change of control could trigger such rights, and said the suggestion they are consistent with market practice “is wrong & misleading.”
Westfield takes chunk of AMP Shopping Centre Trust
Purchase follows Centro takeover offer
Westfield Trust has set up a battle for the AMP Shopping Centre Trust, buying 16.9% of it from institutions at a 13.9% premium to the average price Centro Property Group paid for its 19.9% last week.
Institutions started positioning their holdings in the listed AMP trust in February. AMP Ltd, which held 24.62% but made a major loss on its British investments in 2002, sold down to 21.55% in February, just after the shopping centre trust had strengthened its holdings in the Pacific Fair mall on the Gold Coast (by 4% to 44%) and the Macquarie Centre in North Ryde, Sydney (by 5% to 55%).
The shopping centre trust increased those holdings by taking up a 10% stake in a new unlisted fund which bought 40% of Pacific Fair for $A230 million and 50% of Macquarie for $A239.5 million.
At the start of the year the AMP trust’s unit price was around $A1.35-1.40. The Westfield purchase from institutions took it to $A1.80.
Centro lodged a full takeover bid for the AMP trust on 20 March.
The AMP Shopping Centre Trust owns all or part of 9 regional shopping centres round Australia, worth $A1.4 billion.
The unlisted AMP NZ Property Fund (now called the AMP Property Portfolio) owns 50% of the Botany town centre, Lynmall & Manukau Supa Centa. It sold the other 50% to the Australian listed AMP Diversified Property Trust last August for $NZ188.125 million.
Websites: Shopping Centres portfolio