Australian shopping centre giant Westfield is being bought by French property group Unibail-Rodamco in a $24.7bn (£18.5bn) deal.
Paris-based Unibail is offering shareholders in Westfield Corporation – which has giant malls in London’s White City and Stratford – $7.55 a share at a 17.8% premium.
The takeover sees the creation of a property titan worth $72.2bn (£54bn) spanning countries including Australia, the UK, France, Spain and the US.
The companies have committed to expanding the Westfield brand’s “flagship shopping destinations”.
Sir Frank Lowy, chairman of the Westfield board of directors, said the transaction was “the culmination of the strategic journey Westfield has been on since its 2014 restructure”.
He added: “We see this transaction as highly compelling for Westfield’s securityholders 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.”
Unibail chief executive Christophe Cuvillier said: “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.”
Image: Hammerson’s shopping centres include Birmingham’s Bullring
The acquisition is the second major commercial property deal in a week.
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Last week, Britain’s two biggest shopping centre operators announced plans to join forces in a deal that could transform the retail landscape.
Hammerson, the owner of the Bullring in Birmingham, Brent Cross in north London and Cabot Circus in Bristol, said it is buying rival Intu, whose sites include the Lakeside Centre in Thurrock, Essex, as well as the Trafford Centre and Arndale in Manchester, Braehead in Glasgow and the Metrocentre in Gateshead.