Westfield selling its empire for $32.74 billion

13 December, 2017, 06:09 | Author: Franklin Nunez
  • Westfield malls

The shopping centre giant which owns some of the largest retail site in the United Kingdom, is to be sold to Unibail Rodamco for £18.5 billion, paying Westfield Corporation's Australian owners £5.66 a share at a 17.8 per cent premium.

Westfield said it owns 35 shopping malls valued at $32 billion.

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.

A 90% interest in OneMarket, Westfield's retail technology platform, will be spun-off into a newly formed entity.

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Unibail was helped by very cheap European debt in the 2.0-2.5 percent range and synergies that will result in about $100 million in cost savings, said Scott Crowe, chief investment strategist at real estate focused CenterSquare Investment Management in Philadelphia.

The deal makes it possible for Unibail-Rodamco, Europe's largest publicly traded commercial real estate company, to expand into "new attractive real estate markets", including London and wealthy areas of the U.S., Christophe Cuvillier, chief executive of Unibail-Rodamco, said in a statement.

"I'm also proud that Unibail will extend the famous red Westfield brand across all their flagship assets", he added. Westfield, which started off in Sydney in the 1950s, is known for its 35 upscale shopping centers in major metropolitan areas, particularly in the US and Britain.

"This is really the polarization of shopping mall markets".

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"We started small and we took Westfield to the world".

The deal is subject to approval by both companies' shareholders and is expected to close in the first half of next year. It expanded to New Zealand and the United Kingdom and entered the USA market in 1977.

Not yet. Unibail-Rodamco's value fell as much as 4.1% on news of the deal.

Westfield chairman Frank Lowy, who launched the company in 1960, said it was with "mixed emotions" that he was announcing the buyout but he was comfortable with the decision, which means he and his two sons Peter and Steven moved from "being executives to being investors".

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Frank Lowy, Westfield's chairman, said "the transaction announced today is the culmination of the strategic journey Westfield has been on since its 2014 restructure".

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