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Buyers circle Intu

Intu Properties, the embattled owner of locations such as Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Intu Lakeside in Essex, is reportedly exploring a buyout deal after a challenging period for its shopping centre portfolio.

Private equity firm Orion Capital Managers is thought to be a frontrunner in the buyout process, The Sunday Times reports. Orion currently holds 9.2% of shares in the business.

Intu’s like-for-like net rental income dropped 7.7% to £205.2m in the six months to 30 June, and CEO Matthew Roberts noted that the company had been hit hard by a “wave of CVAs” including those of Debenhams, Arcadia, Select and Monsoon Accessorize.

To successfully launch a takeover bid, Orion would need to work with other shareholders in the business. If it was completed, it would help Intu avert breaching debt covenants on over £1bn of debt. 

This is the latest in a string of takeover bids and proposed mergers for the shopping centre company. Last year, Intu shareholders Peel, Olayan and Brookfield attempted to take Intu private, but failed after lenders became nervous. Intu failed to merge with rival shopping centre owner Hammerson, the owners of Brent Cross and Bullring in Birmingham.

Intu has declined to comment. 

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