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Unibail-Rodamco to acquire Westfield in 24.7 billion dollar deal

Shopping centre giant Westfield, which has two centres in London, is being acquired by Paris-based Unibail-Rodamco to create the “world’s premier developer and operator of flagship shopping destinations” in a 24.7 billion dollar deal.

The deal, which has been unanimously recommended by Westfield’s board of directors and Unibail-Rodamco’s supervisory board, will see the creation of a global property leader worth 72.2 billion dollars, strategically positioning its combined shopping centres in 27 of the world’s most attractive retail markets and cities including in the UK, Australia, France, Spain and the United States.

France's Unibail will pay shareholders in Australia's Westfield Corporation, which owns 35 shopping centres in the United States, including in New York and Los Angeles, and in the UK at London's White City and Stratford, 7.55 cents a share at a 17.8 percent premium.

Unibail chief executive and chairman of the management board, Christophe Cuvillier said: “The acquisition of Westfield is a natural extension of Unibail-Rodamco’s strategy of concentration, differentiation and innovation.

“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.”

In a statement, Unibail-Rodamco stated that the acquisition is expected to result in 100 million dollars in cost savings per year across the 104-strong property group, while adding that they are still committed to the “progressive roll-out of the world famous Westfield brand in the Group’s flagship shopping destinations”.

It also notes that the deal will see the creation of a collection of 56 high quality flagship shopping destinations, representing 84 percent of the GMV, with an average footfall of 15.7 million per annum, such as Westfield London, Westfield Stratford City, Les Quatre Temps, Westfield Century City, Le Forum des Halles, Westfield World Trade Center, La Maquinista, Shopping City Süd, Mall of Scandinavia, Centrum Chodov and Arkadia.

Westfield group to be bought by France’s Unibail-Rodamco

Cuviller added: “We believe that this transaction represents a compelling opportunity for both companies to realise benefits not available to each company on a standalone basis, and creates a strong and attractive platform for future growth. We look forward to welcoming Westfield’s security holders as shareholders in the new Group and continuing to create significant value for our existing and new shareholders.”

Westfield chairman, Frank Lowy, said: “The transaction announced today is the culmination of the strategic journey Westfield has been on since its 2014 restructure. We see this transaction as highly compelling for Westfield’s security holders and Unibail-Rodamco’s shareholders alike.

“Unibail-Rodamco’s track record makes it the natural home for the legacy of Westfield’s brand and business. We look forward to seeing Westfield continue to grow as part of the world’s premier owner of flagship shopping destinations.”

This is the latest consolidation in the shopping centre market, earlier this week Hammerson agreed an all-share takeover of rival Intu in a 3.4 billion pounds deal to create Britain's biggest property company. Its portfolio will include Intu-owned Trafford Centre and Lakeside joining the Bullring in Birmingham under one roof, forming a 21 billion pound shopping centre giant in the UK.

Image: courtesy of Westfield Stratford City