Westfield Sells Shopping Empire For $32B To French Giant
One of Australia’s most renowned families, the Lowy family, is accepting a $32.7 billion offer from French property giant, Unibail-Rodamco, for its Westfield shopping empire.
As part of the sale, Westfield shareholders will receive $10.01 in cash and shares/per share – presenting notable return, considering Westfield’s shares last traded at $8.50.
Westfield Chairman, Frank Lowy, affirms that the deal is a result of a company structure which commenced in 2014.
Unibail-Rodamco will reportedly maintain the Westfield brand, however, the Lowy family has pledged to “remain committed to the success of the Group” and intends “to maintain a substantial investment in the Group”.
Mr Lowy displayed emotion when announcing the sale, however, affirms that the decision reached by his sons and himself is the correct one:
“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”
“Why now? Why now because it is appropriate to do it now”.
Unibail-Rodamco CEO, Christophe Cuvillier, states that the sale will create notable value for shareholders:
“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”.
Following the sale announcement, the Lowy family has revealed it will keep control of Westfield’s retail technology platform, OneMarket, which will be turned into a separate company on the ASX. Steven Lowy will remain as company Chairman.
As part of the deal, the Lowy family will keep a significant holding in the merged operation, as two thirds of their $2.7 billion windfall will be delivered in stock.
With Westfield shares last trading at $8.50 per share, valuing the shopping empire at $17.6 billion on the Australian Stock Exchange.