Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Westfield Corp. Acquired for $16 Billion

Westfield Westfield
Heather Davidson | 13 December, 2017, 06:06

In the new company, Lowy would chair an advisory board while the CEO of Unibail-Rodamco, Christophe Cuvillier, would retain that role.

Unibail-Rodamco invests in commercial property, from malls to office space, mainly in mainland Europe.

"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 new combined empire will operate under the Westfield brand and be one of the world's leading developers and operaters of shopping centres, across 104 locations, with 27 of those in capital cities, and a total value of AUD$95.52 billion (US$72.2 billion).

Under the terms of the agreement, Westfield security holders will receive a combination of cash and shares in Unibail-Rodamco, valuing each Westfield security at a price of $7.55 and representing a premium of 17.8% to Westfield's closing security price on December 11, 2017. The company was built by Frank Lowy, an Australian billionaire who started with one shopping center outside of Sydney in 1959. Unibail expects the deal to close in the first half of 2018. "If you are a retailer, and you still want to have some physical stores, you want them in the best malls you can get-the malls with entertainment, food and beverage", Andrea Felsted, a retail columnist, told Bloomberg. Unibail-Rodamco shares have fallen 1.2 percent.

Lowy said: "The transaction announced today is the culmination of the strategic journey Westfield has been on since its 2014 restructure". Steven Lowy serves on Scentre's board.

Unibail said it had identified cost savings of £88million, including £53million from slashing corporate overheads.

One challenge he faced was a shareholder revolt in 2014 over his proposal to demerge Westfield's Australian and New Zealand assets from the USA and United Kingdom portfolio, they continue.

Oh, and last Friday he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth "for his contribution to the British economy and philanthropic efforts in the country".

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