The Vonovia real estate group in Germany has launched a third attempt to take over Deutsche Wohnen, a merger that could result in the creation of one of Europe’s largest private landlords.
After failing in earlier attempts, Vonovia has now upped its offer to €53 per share, a move that the company says will be its last attempt at a takeover. According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which was one among many which reported the story, “Deutsche Wohnen’s share price hardly reacted, as it has been hovering along the €52 to €53 mark since the beginning of the takeover efforts. Vonovia fell by just over 1%.”
The offer, according to Vonovia, will expire on 20 September. At €53 a share, this means that Vonovia values Deutsche Wohnen at €19bn. Last month, Vonovia was offering €52 a share, a move that narrowly missed being accepted by current shareholders.
As CNBC reported earlier this month, “Since the failure of its offer last month, Vonovia has secured just below 30% of the shares in its rival, some of them by buying treasury shares at €52 apiece. It now needs a Bafin waiver – which is seen as a formality – to immediately file a new offer and not wait for a year with a new bid.”
There are larger, wider issues around the consolidation of the two companies, a move that would put over half a million apartments under control of one landlord. Within Berlin, there have been multiple protests and growing anger at the city’s housing crisis, which has seen rents grow by an average of 42% in the last decade, alongside the co-opting of the city’s ‘Poor but Sexy’ reputation to sell high-end apartments (a story covered here and on Property Wire).
In response to complaints about rising rents, Rolf Buch, chief executive of Vonovia, said that the company would work alongside politicians to provide affordable housing. “We stand by our commitments,” Buch told CNBC earlier this month, “as a reliable political partner to use our combined strength to tackle the challenges of the housing market.”