France’s Unibail-Rodamco bids $24.7 billion for Australia’s Westfield

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2017-12-12 06:47:41

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – France’s Unibail-Rodamco (UNBP.AS) has agreed to buy shopping mall owner Westfield Corp (WFD.AX) for $24.7 billion including debt, in what would be the biggest takeover of an Australian company on record.

FILE PHOTO: The sign of Westfield shopping center is pictured in San Diego, California September 10, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Westfield, which owns and operates 35 shopping centers in the United States and United Kingdom valued at $32 billion, said the transaction was “highly compelling” for Westfield and Unibail-Rodamco’s shareholders.

“Unibail-Rodamco’s track record makes it the natural home for the legacy of Westfield’s brand and business,” Westfield Chairman and co-founder Frank Lowy said in a statement.

Unibail-Rodamco said putting the two companies together would create a global property leader with $72 billion of gross market value, strategically positioned in 27 of the world’s most attractive retail markets.

Westfield’s flagship malls include Westfield London, where it is working on a 600,000 pound ($800,000) expansion, and Century City in Los Angeles, where it is completing a $1 billion overhaul.

It also has stakes in 18 suburban U.S. shopping centers, three of which it wholly owns.

Unibail Rodamco said Westfield shareholders would receive a combination of cash and shares, valuing Westfield at $7.55, or A$10.01 a share, an 18 percent premium to Westfield’s last trade.

Shares in Westfield were halted earlier on Tuesday pending the announcement, having last traded at A$8.50.

Reporting by Byron Kaye and Swati Pandey in Sydney and Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Additional reporting by Susan Mathew in Bangalore; Editing by Stephen Coates

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