DTZ takeover collapses

The London-listed property services firm’s slated merger with France’s BNP Paribas has fallen apart. Its chairman and chief executive blame the collapse on the wider financial issues in the Eurozone.

The protracted takeover of global property services firm DTZ by its majority shareholder Saint Georges Participations has collapsed “at the last minute”.

The Saint Georges Participations and the London-listed firm announced today the “end of offer period” related to the French family-run property group’s May takeover bid which would have seen DTZ merged with French rival BNP Paribas to become one of the largest players in global property services.

DTZ said in its announcement: “The Board of DTZ notes the announcement today by Saint Georges Participations SAS (“SGP”) stating that it has decided not to proceed further with an offer for the Company.”

“DTZ is no longer in an offer period and the independent committee of the Board of the Company, comprising the directors other than those nominated by SGP, will take action in respect of the strategic options available to DTZ.”

Tim Melville-Ross, chairman of DTZ, blamed the “external environment” as contriving to prevent the deal going ahead however welcomed extra credit backing that SGP and UK bank Royal Bank of Scotland are to extend to the firm. The two groups, already creditors to DTZ, are to provide an addition revolving credit facility totaling up to £10 million which will replace an existing undrawn mezzanine facility. “The [DTZ] board welcomes the renewed support or our largest shareholder and our bank,” Melville-Ross added.

DTZ chief executive John Forrester told Reuters the inability of SGP to complete the would-be $256 million deal was “nothing to do with DTZ.” “BNP was very attracted, and that’s why talks went to the last minute,” he said blaming the current problems in the Eurozone as “a major stumbling block”. He will now lead a restructuring effort which will see cut costs, reduced staff and debt load.

Doubts over whether the deal would materalise surfaced in August with the resignations of Forrester’s predecessor chief executive Paul Idzik and chief operating officer Robert Rickert, both of whom departed amid suggestions they were unhappy about a lack of progress on the takeover of the company.