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Report: 2 Hammerson shareholders say new strategy not enough to lift share price


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Report: 2 Hammerson shareholders say new strategy not enough to lift share price

Two large Hammerson PLC shareholders told Reuters July 27 that they do not believe the company's planned overhaul would be able to bring its share price close to that offered by spurned French suitor Klépierre.

Klépierre's final bid was translated to 635 pence per share before it walked away in April, citing a lack of meaningful response from Hammerson, which was in the midst of a £3.4 billion takeover attempt of Intu Properties PLC that was withdrawn later in the same month.

Hammerson, the U.K.'s largest listed retail landlord, had enlisted global management consultant McKinsey & Co. to formulate a new strategy for shareholders after the failed Intu takeover.

The real estate investment trust logged an 80.7% year-over-year slide in 2018 first-half profit. It announced plans to shed £1.1 billion of properties by 2019-end. Hammerson is exiting the retail parks segment and postponing a planned £1.4 billion redevelopment project in London as part of the overhaul strategy. It also commenced a share buyback program of up to £300 million.

An unnamed top 20 Hammerson shareholder told Reuters that that the company's plan could have included more disposals as it was not enough to meaningfully close the share price gap but added that the plans are in the "right direction." Hammerson shares closed at 509.8 pence on July 27, marking a 3.1% decline since the new strategy was announced, the news outlet noted.

According to the July 27 report, the unnamed investor said he had spoken to U.S.-based activist hedge fund Elliott, which holds a roughly 5.3% stake in Hammerson. Elliott also indicated that Hammerson's overhaul plan could have been more ambitious, the report noted, citing the investor.

Real estate equity analysts also questioned whether the new strategy would be enough to deliver the desired results, despite being a positive step.

A Hammerson spokesman declined to comment, as did an Elliott spokeswoman, according to Reuters.