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European Shopping Mall Giant Buys Westfield Group

Posted on Jan 2, 2018

The rise of vacancy rates has brought together two of the largest shopping mall operators in the world. It was recently announced that Unibail Rodamco agreed to buy Westfield Group, for $16 billion in cash and stocks. This announcement came in December 2017.

Westfield Group has been in operation since 1959. It began with a portfolio of 1 shopping mall in Australia and grew to own and operate a total of 35 shopping destinations. They are located in the United States, and in the United Kingdom. They were the 12th largest U.S. property owner. The company was founded by Mr. Frank Lowy.

Mr. Peter Lowy, the current co-CEO, and son of the founder, commented in a recent podcast, that the company executives of both companies have had a long-standing relationship. His father, Frank Lowy spoke about the acquisition. “Why now? Why now because it is appropriate to do it now,” he said.

Unibail Rodamco is a large European company, maintaining its headquarters in Paris. They own and operate 71 commercial properties throughout Europe, not including the acquisition of the Westfield Groups’ portfolio of properties. They are also very active in commercial real estate development, and they have built several of the properties they own in Europe. They are a giant in the industry, and a leading developer and owner Westfield Group shareholders of record at the time of the Westfield takeover, will receive $10.01 per share in stocks and cash, up from its approximate value of $8.50 at the time.

Executives of Unibail Rodamco announced that they plan to continue to maintain the Westfield Group brand. This is significant, and it speaks well of their well-established flagship shopping destinations, including several in London, and one in the World Trade Center in New York City. The family of Frank Lowy plans to maintain a substantial interest in the holdings.