Dexus Property Group, CPPIB challenges GPT Group offer for Commonwealth Property Office Fund
Dexus Property Group and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board challenged the offer of GPT Group by raising their bid for Commonwealth Property Office Fund to AUD 3 billion or USD 2.7 billion, a Bloomberg report said. In a regulatory filing, Dexus and the Canadian fund increased their cash-and-stock offer for the fund controlled by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to AUD 1.268 per share. This was more than the November 19 offer made by GPT which amounted to AUD 1.235 per share, taking dividends into account, the report said.
As Commonwealth Bank looks to divest its property business, GPT and Dexus are seeking to get control of the trust. The Commonwealth Property Office Fund, also called CPA, has office buildings worth AUD 3.9 billion spread out in the largest cities in Australia. Dexus, the biggest listed office landlord in Australia, said last month that it would retain its 14.9% stake in CPA. This prevented GPT from getting full control of the fund.
In a telephone interview, Dexus Chief Executive Officer Darren Steinberg told Bloomberg that their offer was a reinforcement of the company's strategic objective of leading in the office sector. He added, "It brings together two complementary office portfolios and provides CPA unit holders with an ongoing investment in an A-REIT with a similar risk profile to an investment in CPA."
Dexus and CPPIB sweetened the cash component of their offer to 77.45 Australian cents from 72.65 which it offered earlier. It maintained their stock bid at 0.4516 Dexus share for every CPA security, Bloomberg reported. The filing also said that the offer of Dexus is an off-market takeover proposal and would need no minimum acceptance from the stakeholders of CPA. This compared with its previous bid which needed a 75% support from shareholders and the GPT proposal which required 50.1%, the report said.