European retail giant to take over Westfield for $15.7B

European retail giant to take over Westfield for $15.7B

European retail giant to take over Westfield for $15.7B

Cuvillier commented: "The acquisition of Westfield is a natural extension of Unibail-Rodamco's strategy of concentration, differentiation and innovation". The company also is developing malls in Brussels and Hamburg, Germany, according to The Times. Unibail-Rodamco, which is the largest mall operator in Europe, will replace its properties with the Westfield logo.

Meanwhile, Unibail-Rodamco boss Christophe Cuvillier said the deal will create significant value for shareholders.

And last week "Hammerson, which owns Birmingham's Bullring shopping center, agreed to buy Intu, the company behind Manchester's Trafford centre, in a £3.4 billion deal that will create Britain's biggest property company worth £21 billion", Julia Kollewe reports for the Guardian.

Mall operators have been involved in a wave of mergers and acquisitions globally as the rise of e-commerce has squeezed traditional retailers.

Under its Australian billionaire chairman and co-founder Frank Lowy, Westfield has pioneered USA mall redevelopment, introducing upscale food courts, high-end restaurants, bars, cinemas and boutique fashion outlets to entice shoppers. Unibail expects the deal to close in the first half of 2018. In the Los Angeles area, it has the newly renovated Century City mall, as well as its Culver City, Topanga & the Village, Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks, and Santa Anita malls.

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Westfield's share price is down about 10 percent in 2017.

Unibail was helped by very cheap European debt in the 2.0-2.5 percent range and synergies that will result in about $100 million in cost savings, said Scott Crowe, chief investment strategist at real estate focused CenterSquare Investment Management in Philadelphia. "Shares of such companies have been hit hard and store closures are accelerating, pressuring landlords to fill empty space and reinvent shopping centers", Pooja Thakur Mahrotri and Matthew Burgess write for Bloomberg.

His sons, Peter Lowy and Steven Lowy, are co-chief executives of Westfield, which spun off its Australian and New Zealand assets in 2014 into Scentre Group.

"The transaction announced today is the culmination of the strategic journey Westfield has been on since its 2014 restructure", Lowy said in a statement. The company on Tuesday said this had set it up for the Unibail deal.

"We started small and we took Westfield to the world". He was knighted by this month for his contributions to the United Kingdom's economy and for his philanthropy.

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