Property group Vonovia still hungry for Deutsche Wohnen deal

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German real estate company Vonovia is expected to launch a fresh attempt to buy rival Deutsche Wohnen (OTC:DTCWY) within weeks of its initial failure to secure shareholder backing, people close to the matter told Reuters.

Vonovia on Monday said that shareholders tendered 47.62% of Deutsche Wohnen shares, missing the required 50% threshold by last Wednesday’s deadline.

“The CEOs of both companies still want the deal and they are looking to find a solution,” one of the sources said, adding that the most likely option is a new offer.

Another said that any new offer would be launched only after Vonovia’s supervisory board has analysed the matter and signed off on a fresh takeover attempt.

Both Vonovia and Deutsche Wohnen declined to comment.

If a target company agrees and German financial watchdog Bafin issues a waiver, a potential buyer can make a new approach immediately after a failed offer without having to wait for 12 months, according to German law, with such a waiver seen as little more than a formality.

The deal would create a $22 billion property giant with 550,000 apartments, but has been been the centre of heated debate in Germany amid tensions over soaring rents ahead of general elections in September.

Vonovia had failed in a 2016 takeover attempt, but this Deutsche Wohnen’s CEO favours the deal.

A number of hedge funds held out in anticipation of getting more for their shares at a later stage.

Separately, index funds that hold about 20% of Deutsche Wohnen shares are able to tender their shares only after the minimum acceptance quota has been reached.