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By
AFP
Published
Nov 10, 2014
Reading time
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Qatari bid to buy London's Canary Wharf rejected

By
AFP
Published
Nov 10, 2014

LONDON, United Kingdom - Qatar suffered a rare setback in its London property buying spree on Friday when its offer to buy the company behind the landmark Canary Wharf office quarter was rejected.

Songbird, the property firm which controls 69 percent of Canary Wharf Group, said in a statement that its management has unanimously rejected a joint takeover approach from sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and US company Brookfield Property Partners.

Michael Kors is one of the many high-end stores located at London's Canary Wharf | Photo: canarywharf.com



The cash bid, pitched at 295 pence per share and valuing Songbird at almost £2.2 billion (2.8 billion euros, $3.5 billion), had been revealed on Thursday.

"The board of Songbird has reviewed the proposal with its advisers and has unanimously concluded to reject the proposal on the grounds that it materially undervalues Songbird," it said in Friday's statement.

The QIA, which owns Harrods department store and the Shard skyscraper in London, already has a 28.6-percent stake in Songbird.

The bid approach was made alongside US-based Brookfield Property Partners -- which already owns 22 percent of Canary Wharf Group.

"This proposal significantly undervalues Songbird and does not reflect the inherent value of the business and its underlying assets," Songbird's chairman David Pritchard added in the statement.

The former Docklands area of London where Canary Wharf is located was re-developed in the 1980s and continues to be a magnet for huge building projects -- after falling into disrepair when the city's status as a trading hub declined.

One of the area's best-known properties, the HSBC tower, was reportedly bought by QIA earlier this year, British newspapers said.

QIA also owns significant stakes in British supermarket chain Sainsbury's and the London Stock Exchange, as well as half of the Olympic Village apartments in the capital's Stratford district.

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