Shopping-Mall Operator Westfield Valued at $15.7 Billion in Takeover Offer

Ivan Schwartz
December 13, 2017

"Westfield, which owns and operates 35 shopping centers in the United States and United Kingdom valued at $32 billion, said the transaction was "highly compelling" for Westfield and Unibail-Rodamco's shareholders", the Reuters story continues.

The sale of Westfield follows 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 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. Other Southern California locations include the Valencia Town Center mall in Santa Clarita, Westfield Mission Valley, and Horton Plaza and UTC malls in San Diego.

Westfield began in 1959 when billionaire Frank Lowy and his partner John Saunders opened a shopping center in Sydney, Australia. Westfield's earning have stayed in line with analyst expectations since the split. The shares were halted earlier on Tuesday pending the announcement, having last traded at A$8.50.

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This year has seen thousands of mall-based stores shut their doors across the US. Unibail expects the deal to close in the first half of 2018.

Shopping center owners are scrambling to reinvent themselves to keep up with rapid changes in consumer behavior, with the expansion of e-commerce giant Amazon.com coinciding with an explosion in online purchases, while consumers increasingly treat malls as places for socializing and window shopping.

Westfield has been viewed as a pioneer in US mall redevelopment, focusing on luxury properties rather than lower-end malls located in less affluent locations where hundreds of stores have been shuttered. It gets nearly 70 percent of its US$1.8 billion annual revenue in the U.S., where companies are trying to repurpose struggling brick-and-mortar shopping centers.

Unibail Rodamco is the largest commercial real estate company in Europe and will own 104 properties across the world when the acquisition is complete, reportedly resulting in cost savings of $100 million a year.

Other reports by GizPress

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