John Whittaker, Intu’s largest shareholder, has confirmed he is working with a consortium with the aim of taking the shopping centre owner private.

The consortium includes Saudi Arabia’s Olayan Group and Canadian asset manager Brookfield Property Group.

Whittaker’s Peel Group currently owns c26% of Intu, with Olayan holding c3%.

Intu currently has a market capitalisation of £2.07bn.

Peel, Olayan and Brookfield confirmed reports in Estates Gazette, saying they were “in the preliminary stages of considering a possible cash offer . . .[for the] share capital of Intu not already owned by members of the consortium”.

Intu said it had not received an approach from the consortium but had formed an independent committee comprising all directors other than Whittaker to consider any bid.

Whittaker became a large investor in Intu after selling Manchester’s Trafford Centre for shares in the combined group, as well as a position on the board.

Intu’s chief executive, David Fischel, said in July he would leave the company, whose portfolio is valued at almost £10bn, after an aborted takeover attempt by its larger rival Hammerson. Some investors opposed Hammerson’s £3.4bn bid for its smaller shopping centre rival.

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