Westfield Corp. Acquired for $16 Billion

13 December, 2017, 06:05 | Author: Lester Mason
  • The Westfield Group is being taken over

"The acquisition of Westfield is a natural extension of Unibail-Rodamco's strategy of concentration, differentiation and innovation", said Christophe Cuvillier, chairman of the management board and CEO of Unibail-Rodamco. The company also is developing malls in Brussels and in Hamburg, Germany.

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

"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".

It follows last week's proposed tie-up of Hammerson, owner of Birmingham's Bullring, with Lakeside and Trafford Centre operator Intu, as the surge in online buying forces shopping centre groups to focus on their best assets.

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Westfield began in 1959 when billionaire Frank Lowy and his partner John Saunders opened a shopping center in Sydney, Australia. Unibail expects the deal to close in the first half of 2018. Unibail-Rodamco shares have fallen 1.2 percent. In the Los Angeles area, it has the newly renovated Century City mall, as well as its Culver City, Topanga & the Village, Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks, and Santa Anita malls. "Shares of such companies have been hit hard and store closures are accelerating, pressuring landlords to fill empty space and reinvent shopping centers", Pooja Thakur Mahrotri and Matthew Burgess write for Bloomberg.

Frank Lowy, the chairman of Westfield, will retire as part of the deal, while his sons Peter and Steven will resign as the company's co-chief executives.

Speaking from Milan, Lowy said it was a day of mixed emotion, but was certain it was appropriate to do the deal now.

Westfield's portfolio includes shopping areas at U.S. airports such as Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International, Los Angeles International and Orlando International. He was knighted by this month for his contributions to the United Kingdom's economy and for his philanthropy.

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