Reichmann to bid for Canary Wharf

Paul Reichmann said Wednesday he is temporarily stepping down as chairman of Canary Wharf so he can lead a consortium planning to make a bid to take over the London business development.

"In my view, we have reached the point in the economic cycle where the prospects for the commercial property market are set to improve," Reichmann said in a release.

An independent committee of the Canary Wharf board has said a takeover offer from Morgan Stanley and U.S. entrepreneur Simon Glick worth 255 pence a share was not sufficient to win shareholder approval. And another offer from Canada's Brascan was worth less than the Morgan Stanley offer so Canary Wharf ended talks with the conglomerate.

Reichmann said Wednesday his consortium, which is reported to include Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, will make an offer to Canary Wharf shareholders "at a level in excess of that reflected in the offers received so far."

Brascan said Wednesday if may yet make another bid for Canary Wharf. It said it would canvass current Canary Wharf shareholders before it decides on its next move.

The Brascan bid, which it valued at $2.5 billion US, was made on behalf of CWG Acquisition Ltd., a holding company formed by Brascan and other investors which include British Columbia Investment Corp. and Hermes Pension Management.

Brascan already owns 9 per cent of Canary Wharf. Morgan Stanley and Brascan have been fighting for months to get control of Canary Wharf, the massive urban redevelopment in the east London docklands.

It was the Reichmann family's Olympia and York property development company that transformed the run-down docklands area into a huge commercial office and retail complex. Olympia and York collapsed under a mountain of debt in the early 1990s.

The Reichmann family, through LMR Investments, still owns 7.75 per cent of Canary Wharf.