NETHERLANDS - VastNed Retail, the €1.8bn property fund, has beenforced by majority shareholders, such as pensions investor PGGM, tore-consider its initial refusal to a takeover bid.
Rotterdam-based VastNed had turned down a €70 per share offer - worth €1.15bn in total - from investment company IEF Capital last November as, in its opinion, the offer was a considerable under-valuation of the fund.
But during the general shareholders' meeting this week, Johan van der Ende, real estate investment expert at PGGM, the asset manager of the €88bn healthcare scheme Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW), indicated he was disappointed with VastNed's delaying tactics.
David Uitdenboogard, spokesman for PGGM, explained: "IEF Capital had offered to take over VastNed Retail as a whole [entity] and has made a realistic offer in our opinion. Therefore, we think there is enough reason to re-start discussions with IEF," said Uitdenboogard.
PGGM, which has a 20% stake in VastNed Retail, was strongly supported in its stance by the Association of Securities' Owners (VEB).
As a result, the property company issued a statement after the meeting confirming "VastNed wil re-enter discussions with IEF Capital on the basis of IEF's indicative offer of over €70 euro per share".
"In conformity with IEF's request, the discussions will be on the basis of exclusivity,"
VastNed Retail is a listed property fund, primarily investing in retail properties in the eurozone. Its portfolio consists of over 560 properties, of which 40% are shopping centres, 47% inner city shops and 8% retail warehouses.
IEF Capital, which is a Dutch-based joint venture of Bouwfonds Asset Management and the Inflated Exchange Fun, has made it clear it is still interested in a takeover of VastNed Retail.
Founded in 2001, it focuses on inflation-linked products and, so far, it has acquired a property portfolio of €2.5bn through public tenders, bilateral transactions and a public takeover.
IEF said it withdrew its indicative offer last month after VastNed's management indicated it had ‘better alternatives' to pursue.
Last year, VastNed Group tried in vain to get its shareholders' support for a merger of the Retail fund and its sister fund VastNed Offices/Industrial. "A combined fund is not only beneficiary to our listing, but will also help to spread the risks," its general counsel Arnaud du Pont told IPE Real Estate at that time.