Australian company Westfield, which runs two of UK’s highest-earning shopping centres is being bought by French property giant Unibail-Rodamco for $24.7 billion in what is being termed as a mega deal, the largest acquisition of an Australian company in history.
With the closing of this deal, Unibail-Rodamco – which plans to open Westfield malls in Europe as well as the US – will become the world’s largest mall operator.
In a joint press release on Tuesday, the two companies said that the transaction had already been unanimously recommended by Westfield’s board of directors as well as by Unibail-Rodamco’s supervisory board.
They said that the tie-up will serve to create a global property leader with £53.9 billion of market value, operating in 27 of the world’s top retail markets and cities.
“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 Chief Executive of Unibail-Rodamco.
“It adds a number of new attractive retail markets in London and the wealthiest catchment areas in the United States. It provides a unique platform of superior quality shopping destinations supported by experienced professionals of both Unibail-Rodamco and Westfield,” he said in the statement.
Sir Frank Lowy, Chairman of Westfield’s Board of Directors, added that Unibail-Rodamco’s track record “makes it the natural home for the legacy of Westfield’s brand and business”.
Intu’s properties include the Lakeside Centre in Thurrock, Essex, as well as the Trafford Centre and Arndale in Manchester, Braehead in Glasgow and the Metrocentre in Gateshead.
However, the Westfield deal has made Hammerson’s £3.4 billion bid for rival Intu, formerly Capital Shopping Centres, seem like chump change.
Westfield’s biggest shareholders, the Lowy family, is selling its 9.5 percent stake for a mixture of cash and Unibail shares.