Westfield chairman Sir Frank Lowy has announced that after 57 years the shopping centre giant will be sold to French commercial property company Unibail-Rodamco for $32.7 billion.
After the takeover of the Australian company, Westfi eld's 35 shopping centres in the United Kingdom and America, including London's White City and Stratford malls, will combine with Unibail's 69 sites to form a £54billion retail giant attracting 1.2 billion visits annually.
Westfield Corp. operates 16 malls in California, including Westfield Topanga, Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks and Westfield Valencia Town Center in Santa Clarita.
Westfield chairman, Sir Frank Lowy AC commented, "This transaction is the culmination of the strategic journey Westfield has been on since its 2014 restructure".
Slightly more than half of those centers are characterized as "flagship shopping destinations".
Around 37 percent of the combined entity's portfolio would be in France and 22 percent in the United States.
The deal enables Unibail-Rodamco - which is Europe's largest publicly traded commercial real estate company - to expand its presence into "a number of new attractive real estate markets", including London and wealthy areas in the U.S., Cuvillier said in a statement. Westfield's earning have stayed in line with analyst expectations since the split.
Unibail will acquire Westfield for $7.55 per share, a 18 percent premium over Westfield's closing price on Monday.
Westfield separated its operation in Australia and New Zealand from that in the US and Europe in 2014.
Unibail-Rodamco, based in Paris, is the result of a 2007 merger of two French property investment firms.
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.
"All of us at Unibail-Rodamco have vast respect for what the Lowy family and the Westfield team have accomplished with the Westfield brand and the company's iconic collection of world class shopping destinations", said Christophe Cuvillier, Unibail-Rodamco's CEO.
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