Canary Wharf Owner’s U-Turn On Qatar Sale

The owner of east London financial district Canary Wharf has dropped its oppostion to a £2.6bn bid for its sale to a Qatar-led consortium.

Songbird Estates changed its stance after the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and its bidding partner Brookfield Property Partners went directly to shareholders last month.

Songbird said the sale now had the backing of the holders of at least 86% of the shares but it still thought the offer undervalued the company.

The U-turn was seen as a result of its failure to secure any rival bids.

QIA already has a 29% stake in Songbird while Brookfield has 22% of Canary Wharf Group.

Songbird had already said that if one or more of the other three large shareholders – Glick, China Investment Corp and Morgan Stanley Investment Management, were to accept, the offer would become unconditional.

Combined, they own just over 50% and shareholders have until Thursday to accept the offer.

An original bid worth £2.2bn was made last year and raised in December though both approaches were rebuffed by Songbird on value grounds.

Qatar already has significant property interests in London including the Shard and Harrods.

It made its move as Canary Wharf expands its interests beyond commercial property to residential development, with its plans including a 60-storey apartment tower.

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