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Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre comes on the market at £1.4bn

Sale by British Land and London & Stamford expected to attract CSC, Britain’s top mall operator, and foreign investors

A majority stake in the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield is for sale, at a price likely to value the whole mall at £1.4bn or more.

British Land, one of Britain’s biggest property developers, is looking to put half its 50% stake in the 1.4m sq ft mall up for sale, at the same time that its joint venture partner, London & Stamford, is putting its 50% stake in Meadowhall on the market. London & Stamford hopes to wrap up a sale in the first half of this year.

Big centres like Meadowhall are coveted assets as they rarely come on the market and perform far better than high-street properties. The sale is likely to generate a lot of interest from companies such as Capital Shopping Centres (CSC), Hammerson, and Australia’s Westfield, as well as sovereign wealth funds from Singapore, Canada, Norway and the Middle East.

The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation’s real estate arm bought a 40% stake in Britain’s biggest mall, MetroCentre in Gateshead, in 2007. CSC, which is the country’s top operator with 14 shopping centres including Manchester’s Trafford Centre, retained a 50% stake in MetroCentre and still manages it.

British Land’s chief executive, Chris Grigg, declined to comment, but has said that when disposing of a property the group would consider retaining a minority stake if the buyer were prepared to pay a better price on the remaining stake in return for having the comfort that the developer remained invested.

“It would allow them [British Land] to recycle capital into some of their other schemes,” Peel Hunt analyst James Carswell told Reuters. “It’s a good opportunity, as Meadowhall has performed well.”

Meadowhall was valued at £1.4bn in British Land’s annual results last May. It is the company’s third-biggest property after the Broadgate office complex, which has been pre-let to Swiss bank UBS, and Regent’s Place in London. The developer bought Meadowhall for £1.17bn in 1999 and sold a half share to London & Stamford for £588m in 2009.

Both British Land and London & Stamford declined to comment. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds