Scottish Widows and Franklin Mutual, two of Canary Wharf’s largest institutional investors, have reportedly made a last minute attempt to block Morgan Stanley’s imminent £1.7bn takeover of the company.
The two investors are understood to believe it may be the wrong point in the property cycle to sell the Docklands developers.
However, Franklin is also one of the biggest shareholders in Brascan, Morgan Stanley’s main rival in the bid battle for Canary Wharf. Brascan is known to have quietly canvassed opinion among Canary Wharf shareholders to see if there is any support for it remaining a public company.
Although Brascan appears to have conceded that its bid will fail, City analysts claim that arguing for Canary Wharf to stay public would be its last chance of blocking the Morgan Stanley takeover.
The rebel investors, including the stake held by Brascan and its ally, former Chairman Paul Reichmann, would control around 30% of the company. Morgan Stanley needs at least 50% of acceptances by 21 May in order for is bid to succeed.
Source: Freeman / The Times