REAL ESTATE - Dutch healthcare pension fund PGGM has backed a proposed €11bn merger between Dutch real estate fund group Rodamco Europe and French developer Unibail.

PGGM is Rodamco's largest shareholder with a stake of around 25%. It backed the "the sound industrial logic of this merger and its value enhancing prospects for shareholders".

The combined entity would form the largest real estate company of Europe, holding assets mainly in the retail sector of around €21.7bn and around 96 shopping centres, with a net rental income of €947m.

Dutch financial analysts have welcomed the synergy of the deal.

Unibail offered €124.80 per share, a premium of 15%, for Rodamco shares - with Rodamco shareholders being paid 0.53 share of Unibail per share of Rodamco Europe.

All in all this represents a total offer of €11.2bn, representing the largest ever take over bid in Dutch corporate history.

The combined company's registered office will be in Paris and international headquarters operations will be based in the Netherlands.    

Rodamco chairman Robert van Oordt will chair the supervisory board of the combined group while Unibail CEO Guillaume Poitrinal will become CEO of the merged entity.

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