Preliminary talks to acquire Grove mall underway
According to JP Duncan of The Grove mall management, all the information published in a Zimbabwean report last week is devoid of truth. However, he confirmed that, “there are talks, but those talks are only in the beginning phase.” He added that as soon as these talks become more concrete, all relevant stakeholders including mall tenants will be informed.
This was reiterated by Armond Boshoff, chief executive of Atterbury who currently owns the mall. “We were approached by a possible investor and we send through our information sheet to them, that is publicly available on our website as well. That is, it,” he said.
The Herald in Zimbabwe published that various financial institutions are in the process of brokering a massive N$1.8 billion deal involving the acquisition of The Grove. According to Boshoff, they had no formal, in-person meeting where this information had been discussed. “Nothing on how much they are interested in acquiring or at what price.”
“The two institutions involved are Stratus Capital Partners, an asset management firm, and Bard Santner Markets Inc, a newly established Harare-based financial advisory and asset management company,” the article read. According to Duncan, he could not confirm if these institutions are in fact who the mall’s parent company is in talks with. A spokesperson of Bard Santner Markets Inc, told Namibia Media Holdings that they currently have no official comment on the deal.
Boshoff said Stratus reached out to them, stating that they (Stratus) want to invest in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and wanted more information on The Grove. “We are proud owners of The Grove and Dunes Mall in Walvis Bay and we are committed to our 30 employees currently working for us in Namibia. There is nothing to tell.”
According to a current tenant who wishes to remain anonymous, should the mall be sold, they feel there should be no impact on their business if the new owners keep everything as is. “Our rental and lease agreements and budgets were based on our business plans and we signed contracts for a five-year period,” the tenant said. “If they don’t make any changes, then there will be no issues. If changes are made, especially to our rent agreements, it may be considered a breach of contract.”
The Grove Mall was co-developed by Safland and Atterbury and opened in October 2014. In June 2018, Atterbury announced that they took over the total shareholding of the mall. In 2019 a name change from The Grove Mall of Namibia to simply The Grove was announced. Atterbury and Safland also developed The Dunes Mall in Walvis Bay.