Liberty International said yesterday that it was considering making a formal expression of interest in bidding for Chelsfield, while Hammerson is also understood to be pondering a bid.
The Chelsfield Chairman, Elliott Bernerd, tabled a 305p-per-share offer for the company earlier this month, which has not been accepted by the companyÃ¢â¬â¢s independent directors. Although the MBO bid has not been rejected outright, ChelsfieldÃ¢â¬â¢s independent directors believe it undervalues the company and are keen to attract other offers. Bernerd himself has said he would accept a higher recommended cash offer.
David Fischel, Chief Executive of Liberty, said yesterday: Ã¢â¬ÅWe are aware of the companyÃ¢â¬â¢s announcement, we are considering it, but we have not yet made a decision. In light of that statement it may be worth someone taking a look.Ã¢â¬Â
Although Hammerson declined to comment, it is understood to be considering a bid. Last year the company trumped an MBO offer for the retail parks specialist, Grantchester.
Chelsfield would be a good fit for either Liberty or Hammerson, as all three companies own regional shopping centres.
Most analysts believe Liberty to be the most likely bidder. Ã¢â¬ÅBuying Chelsfield would fit in with LibertyÃ¢â¬â¢s strategyÃ¢â¬Â, said Andrew Penny, an analyst at JP Morgan.