CNMC Approves Merger Between Merlin & Metrovacesa

30 August 2016 – Expansión

Authorisation from the CNMC / The merger will result in the creation of the largest real estate company in Spain, with assets worth almost €10,300 million. The group will compete with the large European Socimis.

On Friday, Spain’s National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC) approved the merger between the Socimi Merlin Properties (owner of Torre PwC in Madrid, pictured above, amongst other assets) and Metrovacesa, the real estate company controlled by Banco Santander, in an operation announced on 21 June. With the green light from the supervisory body, the door has been opened for the creation of a giant that will become the largest real estate company in Spain and one of the largest in Europe. The group will own assets worth €10,297 million in total.

The CNMC approved the deal on the basis that the barriers to entry into the tertiary real estate business (shopping centres, offices, logistics warehouses, retail premises and hotels) are not instrumental. And on the basis that this business, which comprises domestic and international companies, is quite fragmented in Spain, according to the body.

The analysis performed by the Commission focused on the relationship of control between Merlin, Testa – the real estate company that the Socimi purchased from Sacyr and in which it owns a 99.93% stake, and for which it plans to complete the integration of the remaining 0.07% within the next few months – and Testa Residencial, which is fully owned by Testa and therefore controlled indirectly by Merlin.

Three carve-outs

The operation will involve the carve-out of Metrovacesa into three lines of business, as revealed by Expansión on 22 June. One real estate line, one residential line and one line for assets under development and land.

The new Merlin will group together all of the real estate business and will acquire Metrovacesa’s tertiary assets, worth €1,672 million. To execute the operation, the Socimi will increase its share capital by 146.7 million shares, at a price of €11.40 per share.

The residential arm of Metrovacesa will carve out its assets from its rental housing business and move them into the newly created company Testa Residencial. The gross value of that company’s assets will amount to €980 million and it will also take over debt amounting to €250 million not transferred to Merlin as part of the tertiary business.

In terms of the third line of business, a newly created public company will take ownership of Metrovacesa’s remaining assets, in other words, the set of land and work in progress in the tertiary sector whose characteristics “do not fit with the profile defined by Merlin for its investments”. The total value of the assets of this third company will amount to €326.49 million.

The Boards of Directors of both companies will meet on 15 September to give their final approval of the operation.

In terms of the shareholder structure of the new Merlin and Testa Residencial companies, Banco Santander will be the largest individual shareholder of both, with stakes of 21.95% and 46.21%, respectively. Merlin will be left with a 68.76% stake in the tertiary business and Metrovacesa will have a 31.24% stake.

In the case of Testa Residencial, Metrovacesa’s shareholders will acquire 65.76% of the share capital.

Original story: Expansión (by María Sánchez)

Translation: Carmel Drake