Photo: Bernd Thissen / dpa
Germany's largest housing group Vonovia has finally declared the takeover of its rival Deutsche Wohnen to have failed.
Vonovia was only able to secure 47.62 percent of the Deutsche Wohnen shares by the end of the acceptance period and thus missed the required quota of 50 percent.
The takeover offer will not be carried out, the company said in a mandatory notification to the stock exchange.
"The submitted Deutsche Wohnen shares will be booked back."
The failure had already become apparent on Friday.
Vonovia boss Rolf Buch has not ruled out a new attempt.
It would then be the third attempt.
Vonovia is the largest shareholder in Deutsche Wohnen with 18.36 percent of the shares.
Both are number 1 and 2 in the industry in Germany and both are listed in the leading index Dax.
If the 18 billion euro takeover had been successful, it would have created a real estate giant with well over half a million apartments.
The Federal Cartel Office had already approved the project.
Vonovia had already failed in 2016 with a takeover attempt at Deutsche Wohnen.
Even then, the minimum acceptance rate for the billion-dollar offer was not reached.
In contrast to the new offer, the management board of Deutsche Wohnen classified the offer as hostile in 2016 and fiercely opposed the plan.
This time, both companies jointly campaigned to accept the offer.
According to insiders, Vonovia failed, among other things, because of hedge funds, which - as is often the case in takeover situations - had bought massively in Deutsche Wohnen shares.
Around a third of the papers were in their hands.
They usually speculate that the takeover will go through, but they would get more money if they were offered a severance pay later, insiders said.
The planned merger had fueled the debate about rising rents in major German cities and scarce living space.
One focus was on Berlin, where Deutsche Wohnen, the largest private landlord, rents around 114,000 apartments, including in four World Heritage sites such as the Hufeisensiedlung.
As part of their merger plans, the two groups had promised to cap rents in the capital, limit modernization surcharges, create more living space and offer apartments for sale to the state of Berlin.
Vonovia boss Rolf Buch said at the weekend that the offer to the land and the tenants would last.
Deutsche Wohnen made a similar statement on Friday.
The state and the two groups had agreed to sell around 20,000 apartments.
mmq / Reuters / dpa