London landlords Shaftesbury and Capco get merger green light
Property giants Shaftesbury and Capital & Counties (Capco) are now one. The owners of two of London’s most important shopping areas have been given the long-awaited green light to merge.
Now called Shaftesbury Capital, the agreement -- approved by both Capco and Shaftesbury shareholders -- is expected to be completed on 6 March. It comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) gave its blessing following spending months investigating whether the deal may lead to a “substantial lessening of competition”.
Between them they control prime property across the capital’s West End, worth about £5 billion. The combined portfolio covers 40 acres and includes Covent Garden, parts of Soho and Carnaby Street, Shaftesbury and Chinatown. About a third of their estate is dedicated retail.
With Capco set to publish its annual results next week, neither company commented beyond confirming that the deal had been cleared by the watchdog.
The pair had first announced the intended merger back in June. Speculation began pre-pandemic when Capco bought a 25% stake in its rival.
The company is expected to begin trading as Shaftesbury Capital on 7 March and will have a stock market value of about £2.7 billion, 53%-owned by Shaftesbury shareholders, with Capco investors owning the remainder.
Ian Hawksworth, Capco’s chief executive, will lead the new group, which will be chaired by Jonathan Nicholls, who has been Shaftesbury’s chairman for the past six years. Brian Bickell, Shaftesbury’s chief executive, is set to retire.
In separate trading updates last month, Capco and Shaftesbury both gave upbeat assessments of trading conditions, having bounced back from the dark days of Covid.
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