FRENCH shopping conglomerate Unibail-Rodamco has entered an agreement to buy Westfield in a deal that values the shopping mall chain at US$24.7 billion (AUD$32.8 billion).
Westfield went into a trading halt earlier on Tuesday pending the announcement of the transaction which was unanimously recommended by both the Westfield and Unibail-Rodamco boards.
The deal builds on the international giant's portfolio which now boasts a combined gross market value of US$72.2 billion across 27 different markets and 104 individual assets, most of which are shopping destinations (84 per cent).
Chairman Sir Frank Lowy said Westfield will remain steadfast, and there will be a progressive roll out of the brand across the group's flagship destinations.
"The transaction announced today is the culmination of the strategic journey Westfield has been on since its 2014 restructure," said Lowy.
"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."
Subject to the approval of the transaction, Sir Frank Lowy will retire as chairman, and sons Peter and Steven Lowy will retire as Co-CEOs of Westfield.
The group will have its headquarters in Paris and Schiphol, with two regional headquarters in Los Angeles and London.
Post-transaction, Christophe Cuvillier of Unibail-Rodamco will take over as CEO and Colin Dyer will be the group chairman of the supervisory board.
Cuvillier says he has "immense respect" for the Lowy family and Westfield and looks forward to growing the brand.
"We believe that this transaction represents a compelling opportunity for both companies to realise benefits not available to each company on a standalone basis," he says.
"We look forward to welcoming Westfield's securityholders as shareholders in the new group."
Unibail-Rodamco will acquire Westfield for a combination of shares and cash, with Westfield's securities valued at US$7.55, which is a 17.8% premium on the company's closing price yesterday.
This year, Westfield was ranked number six on Business News Australia's Sydney top companies list.
Business News Australia
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