Westfield snapped up by French property giant for £18.5bn

Chelsea West
December 13, 2017

"Rodamco's strategy of concentration, differentiation and innovation", Unibail-Rodamco CEO Christophe Cuvillier said in the statement. The company also is developing malls in Brussels and Hamburg, Germany, according to The Times.

Unibail-Rodamco owns and operates 69 shopping centers in some of Europe's key cities, including Paris, Madrid, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Munich, Germany.

The transaction would create a global operator and developer of flagship shopping centers spanning the USA and Europe, with a gross market value of US$72.2 billion.

"The deal accelerates consolidation of the global retail property sector", Kaye and Paul point out, and "comes on the heels of world No. 2 retail real estate investment trust GGP Inc's rejection of a $14.8 billion offer from Brookfield Property for the two-thirds it did not already own".

The cash-and-stock deal values shares of Australia-based Westfield at $7.55 a share, an 18 percent premium over Monday's closing price, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Westfield has been viewed as a pioneer in USA mall redevelopment, focusing on luxury properties rather than lower-end malls located in less affluent locations where hundreds of stores have been shuttered. Unibail-Rodamco shares have fallen 1.2 percent.

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"Unibail is mounting the biggest takeover of a company in the Asia-Pacific region this year - and the largest ever in Australia - as mall owners seek to contend with relentless pressure from online commerce".

Westfield started out with one shopping centre in Sydney's suburbs and now has interests in dozens of shopping malls and airport retail spaces in the United States, Britain and Europe.

Sir Lowy says he and his sons, joint chief executives Steven and Peter Lowy, will step down as executives and become investors.

Sir Frank Lowy AC, chairman of the Westfield board of directors, said the deal with Unibail-Rodamco is the culmination of the strategic journey Westfield has been on since its 2014 restructuring. "On Tuesday he told reporters the sale to Unibail-Rodamco was a natural outcome from that demerger", they write. Westfield's portfolio is valued at $32 billion.

He was knighted last week in a ceremony at Windsor Castle in recognition of his contribution to the British economy.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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