Westfield $32bn Takeover Moves One Step Closer


As the $30 billion takeover bid by French giant Unibail-Rodamco looms, Westfield Corporation’s investors will likely push for a better deal.

In what is set to become Australia’s largest-ever takeover – pending shareholders’ approval – the deal will be finalised by 30 May with the new merged shopping centre giant to begin trading on 7 June.

As a giant leap forward, both the French and Dutch financial market authorities have approved key documentation supporting the deal.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison also approved the Westfield takeover last week.

The transaction was unanimously recommended by Westfield's Board of Directors as well as by Unibail-Rodamco's Management Board and Supervisory Board.

Related reading: Listed Property Rises on Westfield Sale to European Landlord

Before the transaction is finalised, the offer still needs approval by shareholders in both companies, with Westfield security holders to vote at the company’s annual meeting come 24 May.

The French giant is offering Westfield unitholders 0.01844 Unibail-Rodamco shares for every Westfield share, and $US2.67 cash.

Unibail-Rodamco and Westfield Corporation announced they had entered into agreement to acquire Westfield in December, with the intention of creating “a global property leader” with a gross market value of US$72.2 billion and footholds in 27 of the world’s most prominent retail markets and cities.

Westfield owns 35 shopping centres with total assets under management of of $US34.5 billion, while Unibail-Rodamco’s assets under management of $US43.1 billion, according to the French prospectus.

The deal will create the largest shopping centre landlord in the world with sites attracting over 1.2 billion visits each year. Westfield owns malls in the United States, Britain and Italy.

The Australian and New Zealand shopping centres, which run under the Westfield banner are owned and managed by the Scentre Group and are not subject to the Unibail takeover.

Westfield’s last day trading on the ASX will be 30 May. The shopping centre empire created by Frank Lowy has been listed on the Australian bourse since 1960.


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