French company to buy Westfield in deal worth $24.7 billion

westfieldFrance-based Unibail-Rodamco is buying mall operator Westfield Corporation in a deal estimated to be worth $24.7 billion. Westfield is a leading airport retailer in the US and owner of shopping centers around the world, and Unibail, a company less well-known, is Europe’s largest listed landlord.

The transaction was unanimously recommended by Westfield’s Board of Directors and Unibail-Rodamco’s Supervisory Board. Following the Transaction, Christophe Cuvillier, Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer of UnibailRodamco, will become CEO. Westfield Chairman Sir Frank Lowy, who co-founded the company, will retire.

unibailThe deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018.

Westfield operates retail stores at some of the premier airports in the US including LAX, MIA, JFK, ORD, Newark, Orlando, and Boston Logan.

Commenting on the agreement, Cuvillier said: “We are delighted to announce this transaction today. All of us at Unibail-Rodamco have immense 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.

“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. We believe that this transaction represents a compelling opportunity for both companies to realize benefits not available to each company on a standalone basis, and creates a strong and attractive platform for future growth…”

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.”