The FTSE 100 company announced this afternoon that it was placing up to 25m new shares through Merrill Lynch and UBS, which represents 7.4% of its share capital.

The proceeds will be used to reduce debt incurred in the £421m acquisition of the Covent Garden Estate in August by its subsidiary Capital & Counties. This, said Liberty, would give it increased flexibility to pursue its £1.2bn development pipeline and other investment opportunities, after paying the £146m entry charge for converting to a REIT in January.

As part of the placing the family interests of Sir Donald Gordon, the president for life of Liberty, and ‘a connected person’ of director Graeme Gordon have agreed to buy 1.4m shares. The net result – because of the size of the placing – is that the Gordon family’s stake in Liberty will reduce from 21.1% to 20.1%.