Australian shopping centre giant Westfield, which operates 33 malls across the United States, as well as in London’s White City and Stratford, is being bought by Unibail-Rodamco, a European property investment firm based in France.
The deal values Westfield’s equity at US$15.8bn and represented an 18% premium on Westfield’s closing share price at the time of the deal (11 December).
Unibail-Rodamco operates 71 malls across Europe as well as several convention centres (including the Viparis portfolio in France) and office buildings. The new entity created will boast assets worth more than $72bn.
Sir Frank Lowy, chairman of the Westfield board of directors, said the transaction was “the culmination of the strategic journey Westfield has been on since its 2014 restructure”.
He added: “We see this transaction as highly compelling for Westfield’s securityholders and Unibail-Rodamco’s shareholders alike.”
John Colley, a mergers and acquisitions expert at Warwick Business School, said he believed the brickes and mortar shopping sector was combating Amazon by reducing costs through mergers. “Clearly there are significant savings as the new enterprise will only need one head office, board, systems and functional management,” he said.