European retail giant to take over Westfield for $15.7B

Westfield chairman Frank Lowy said he was 'proud that Unibail will extend the famous red Westfield brand across all their flagship assets'

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".

Shares in Unibail-Rodamco, which was formed in 2007 by the merger of France's Unibail and Dutch-based Rodamco, were down 4 percent at 1500 GMT, with analysts at Kepler Cheuvreux saying that the deal looked expensive.

The deal to create a world leading developer and operator of shopping malls is the latest in... (WEFIF.PK) in a deal that implies an enterprise value of $24.7 billion.

The deal, unanimously agreed upon by Westfield's board of directors, will see the Westfield name disappear from the Australian Stock Exchange, ending an era which saw the Lowy family grow the business into one of Australia's most successful exports.

Westfield Corporation, founded by Sir Frank in the 1950s, is set to be taken over by European commercial property giant Unibail-Rodamco.

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"Unibail-Rodamco's track record makes it the natural home for the legacy of Westfield's brand and business". The Paris-based company also wants to boost demand for its stores by tempting USA retailers in Westfield's malls to expand into Europe and its own tenants to open in North America, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Unibail-Rodamco expects the deal to be accretive to its recurring earnings per share in the first full year, with expected run-rate synergies of 100 million euros per annum.

"Firstly because it's a very good price for our shareholders and also from our point of view and the company I think we want to change our roles in the world we would rather be investors than executives".

Under the terms of the deal, Westfield shareholders would receive cash and shares totaling $7.55, or A$10.01, an 18 percent premium per share. In the United Kingdom, it operates two in prime London locations.

Founded by Lowy in 1959, Westfield demerged its Australian and New Zealand assets from its USA and United Kingdom properties in 2014 as it sought to lure worldwide capital for expansion.

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Dozens of malls in the USA are changing hands as part of a mega real estate takeover.

Mr Lowy, one of Australia's best-known businessmen, said the deal was the "culmination of the strategic journey" that began with the division of the business in 2014.

But beyond that, the family signalled its intention to "maintain a substantial investment in the group" after the sale.

"All of us at Unibail-Rodamco have vast respect for what the Lowy family and the Westfield team have accomplished", he said.

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