Consortium including Brookfield Property Partners set to buy Canary Wharf owner

TORONTO – A consortium including Brookfield Property Partners (TSX:BPY.UN) appears set to win control of London’s Canary Wharf real estate development with a bid that values majority owner Songbird Estates at C$5 billion.

Songbird said Wednesday the several of its major shareholders plan to accept offer of 3.5 pound per share made by the consortium, which includes the Qatar Investment Authority and Brookfield.

The London-based company said QIA and Brookfield will hold at least an 85.6 per cent stake in Songbird once they acquire stock currently held by its major shareholders.

Songbird said Wednesday that it believed the offer undervalued the company but recommended that its minority shareholders accept it in light of the decision by the major shareholders.

QIA and Brookfield welcomed the announcement.

“QIA and Brookfield urge all other Songbird shareholders who have not yet accepted the Songbird Offer to do so,” the companies said in a joint announcement.

Before making the offer for Songbird, QIA held a 29 per cent stake in the company.

Songbird holds a 69 per cent stake in Canary Wharf, while Brookfield holds a 22 per cent stake. The consortium has said it plans to make an offer to acquire the remaining stake in Canary Wharf it did not hold.

The main tower in Canary Wharf — a major office development begun in the 1980s by Toronto-based Olympia & York — is home to some of the world’s biggest banks.

Brookfield Property Partners is controlled by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management (TSX:BAM.A), which led an unsuccessful attempt to acquire control of Canary Wharf about a decade ago.

Brookfield Asset Management has holdings in several industries, including real estate, power generation and forestry-related businesses.

The Qatar Investment Authority has interests across London, including Harrods as well as its stake in Songbird. Qatar is also behind the Shard skyscraper in London.