German property mega-deal goes from bad to worse

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An office building of the German property group Deutsche Wohnen is pictured in Berlin, Germany June 2, 2020.

LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters Breakingviews) - German landlord Vonovia’s (VNAn.DE) 19 billion euro bid for rival Deutsche Wohnen (DWNG.DE) is looking like a botched job. Having already once extended the deal, Vonovia Chief Executive Rolf Buch now says he will go ahead with his 53 euros per share offer even if he secures less than 50% of the target’s stock. So far, Buch has snagged just over 40% support, despite sweetening the initial 52 euros a share bid.

Vonovia had already signalled it would proceed if it doesn’t get enough shares to delist Deutsche Wohnen . Now, if it ends up with less than 50% of the shares, it could be harder to control the company. Buch has repeated threats that Vonovia might in the future force Deutsche Wohnen to cancel its dividends, in order to boost investment and cajole the target’s shareholders to sell. But that could be harder with less than a 50% stake. Like a rickety building, this deal will need plenty of patching up. (By Aimee Donnellan)

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Editing by Neil Unmack and Karen Kwok

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