Developers’ merger could set a trend

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developer London & Stamford has agreed to take over Metric Property Investments, in a merger that analysts say could herald a wave of similar deals as smaller property firms join together to battle the financial crisis.

Shareholders in London & Stamford will own 75 per cent of the enlarged company, the firms said yesterday, if the offer of 0.94 shares for every Metric share goes ahead. London & Stamford has until December 4 to announce whether or not the offer will be made for Metric, which is valued at about £200m under the outline deal.

London & Stamford owns and develops offices and luxury homes in London as well as warehouses across Britain. Last month, it sold its stake in the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield for £750m to Norway’s sovereign wealth fund.

Metric owns supermarkets and retail parks in Britain.

“It is exactly what the sector needs – consolidation,” said Investec analyst Alan Carter. “There should be more mergers between the smaller companies but it is always easier said than done. The principle of this, if it was extended, would be welcomed by the sector.”