21 November 2017 – Bolsa Mania
Bank of America, one of the giants of the US financial sector, has acquired a stake in Axiare, at the same time as Colonial has launched a takeover bid for the Socimi with the aim of creating an office rental giant. The US entity has declared to the CNMV that it holds a 6.7% stake in Axiare, whilst another group of funds has purchased just over 8% of the entity, at a time when the largest real estate operation in Spain this year is on the verge of being completed.
On Monday, the investment fund Wellington Management announced an increase in its stake from 3% to 3.8%. That means that 15% of Axiare’s share capital is now in the hands of funds. MVN Asset Management (Maven Securities), Gruss Global and Amber Global appeared last week with stakes of 3.5%, 1.1% and 1.21%, respectively. Those qualifying investors join Citi, which already held a 4.9% stake in the Socimi and which emerged as the only high-profile shareholder behind Colonial, after the other shareholders sold their stakes in this real estate company.
Specifically, the British firm MVN Asset Management (Maven Securities) declared a stake of 3.09% in Axiare on 13 November, and on Tuesday (21 November), increased that percentage to 3.5%. Gruss Global controls another 1.1%. Meanwhile, Amber Global, an entity headquartered in the Cayman Islands, has reported that it holds a stake of 1.21%, in that case, all through derivatives, according to the CNMV’s registers. Maven and Amber Global acquired their stakes in Axiare on the same day that Colonial launched its takeover bid for the Socimi Axiare. Colonial is already the largest shareholder with a 28.7% stake.
With its offer, the real estate company led by Pere Viñolas is looking to acquire the remaining 71% of Axiare that it does not yet control. On the same day as it submitted its offer, Colonial increased its stake in the Socimi from 15% to 28%. To that end, it offered €18.50 per share in the Socimi chaired by Luis López de Herrera-Oria. That price represents a premium of 13% over the share price of Axiare on the eve of the takeover and 20.8% over the average list price for the last three months. On Tuesday, the Socimi’s shares were trading at around €18.30.
Axiare claims that the takeover is “hostile”
Axiare says that the takeover that Colonial launched over the company on Monday is hostile in nature, given that it did not know anything about the intentions of the real estate company. The firm, whose largest shareholder is Colonial, announced that it will consult its legal and financial advisors regarding the details of the operation.
“Until the morning of 13 November, neither the management team nor the Board of Directors of Axiare was aware of the intentions of Colonial to purchase an additional block of shares, nor of its intention to formulate a takeover bid”, say sources at the firm chaired by Luis López de Herrera-Oria.
This is not the first time that discrepancies have arisen between the two companies. In fact, it is the second time that Axiare has expressed its resistance to Colonial’s acquisition of its shares. The first time was when the company purchased 15% of the Socimi. Proof, they argue, is that Colonial is not represented on the most senior governing body of Axiare, because it is considered to be a “competitor”.
Original story: Bolsa Mania (by Alberto Sanz)
Translation: Carmel Drake