Intu shares soar on buyout speculation

Trafford Centre

Shares of Intu Properties plc — which runs 17 shopping centres including Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Arndale Centre, Newcastle’s Eldon Square and Gateshead’s Metrocentre — rose about 11% on Monday amid speculation a private equity group could buy out the sgroup.

The Sunday Times reported that private equity firm Orion Capital Managers, founded by Aref Lahham, is in the early stages of finding partners for a buyout of Intu.

Last November, a consortium led by Intu’s deputy chairman John Whittaker scrapped a £2.91 billion takeover offer for the firm.

The consortium’s U-turn came after rival Hammerson abandoned a £3.4 billion bid to buy Intu in April last year. 

Intu shares, which have lost almost two-thirds of their value this year, rose to around 40p — a far cry from a peak of 947p in 2006.

The company is now valued at only around £540 million, according to Reuters data.

Intu declined to comment on the Sunday Times report.