Germany’s largest listed property group, Vonovia, which last week failed in a hostile €14bn takeover of its rival Deutsche Wohnen, has announced the departure of the deputy chairman of its management board, Thomas Zinnöcker.
Vonovia — which was formerly owned by Guy Hands’ Terra Firma buyout group — said that Mr Zinnöcker’s temporarily role overseeing the integration of the group’s €3.9bn swoop on Gagfah, another property landlord, in 2014 had come to an end, and the integration had been completed early.
“Thomas Zinnöcker’s exemplary commitment enabled Vonovia to successfully complete the integration of Gagfah ahead of time. As a result of his efforts, his contract has been annulled by mutual consent,” Wulf Bernotat, chairman of the Vonovia’s supervisory board, said in a statement on Monday.
Mr Zinnöcker’s departure comes after Bochum-based Vonovia said last week that it had failed to secure the 50 per cent-plus Deutsche Wohnen shares that it needed in order to gain control of its nearest rival.
Vonovia said in October that it would offer shareholders in Deutsche Wohnen seven Vonovia shares and €83.14 in cash for every 11 shares they held. The potential deal would have created a landlord with a portfolio of more than 500,000 homes, and capped two years of increasingly frenetic dealmaking in the German property sector.
However, Deutsche Wohnen’s management, led by chief executive Michael Zahn, vehemently opposed the cash-and-share bid, claiming that it would “destroy value”. Mr Zahn argued that the €84m in synergies that Vonovia had planned to reap in the two years after the deal were “not remotely achievable”.
Deutsche Wohnen’s investors were also sceptical, with some arguing that the price offered by Vonovia was not good enough, while others were wary of the amount of debt needed to finance the deal. Still others thought that the sector had already had enough consolidation.
In January, in an effort to salvage the takeover, Vonovia cut the level of backing it needed for the deal to go through from 57 per cent to 50 per cent of Deutsche Wohnen shareholders.
However, last week Vonovia admitted defeat, after a provisional count found that just 30.4 per cent of Deutsche Wohnen’s shares had been tendered by the deadline of midnight on Tuesday, including shares that Vonovia had bought itself and those it expected to receive from convertible bondholders.
Shares in Vonovia closed up 2.34 per cent at €27.11 in Frankfurt on Monday, while shares in Deutsche Wohnen closed up 3.47 per cent at €24.29.