Shopping centre owners strike £876m deal

Intu have acquired Westfield Derby centre, Sprucefield retail park in Northern Ireland and a 50% stake in the Merry Hill Shopping Centre

The Qube quadrant at the Metrocentre

Owners of the Metrocentre and Eldon Square shopping centres in the North East has acquired two rival retail centres as part of a deal worth £867.8m.

Property developers Intu have snapped up the Westfield Derby centre, Sprucefield retail park in Northern Ireland and a 50% stake in the Merry Hill Shopping Centre, near Dudley.

The sellers currently hold their interest in Merry Hill jointly with QIC, which will retain its 50% stake following the acquisition.

The deal is to be financed by new debt facilities totalling £423.8m and a fully underwritten rights issue of shares, intended to raise around £500m.

The company said the acquisitions are consistent with Intu’s strategy of focusing on the UK’s largest and most successful destinations.

David Fischel, chief executive of Intu, said: “The transaction is a rare and attractive opportunity to acquire a further two prime shopping centres in line with our strategy to focus on the UK’s largest and most successful destinations.

“The acquisition strengthens Intu’s position as the leading owner, developer and manager of prime UK shopping centres filling in gaps in our national coverage and extending the footprint of our nationwide consumer facing brand and digital strategy.

“We are delighted to establish a partnership with QIC, a major global investor, at Merry Hill.”

The move comes on top of Intu’s earlier announcement of developments totalling £1.2bn over the next ten years on projects at most of its centres and major extensions, including extensions to the Gateshead Metrocentre’s Qube mall and the creation of a new restaurant area at Newcastle’s Eldon Square.

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