Mall Giant Westfield Sold in $16B Deal

December 13, 2017

Several malls in the U.S. are getting a new owner. Mall operating giant Westfield is being acquired by Unibail-Rodamco, a commercial real estate giant based in France, in a deal valued at nearly $16 billion. The sale comes at a time when the mall sector is struggling to define itself as it competes with growing threats from online shopping.

Westfield is an Australian firm that operates 33 malls across the U.S. Its mall portfolio includes New York’s World Trade Center.

Unibail-Rodamco operates about 70 shopping centers across Europe and several convention centers and office buildings.

The proposed merger “creates a strong and attractive platform for future growth,” Unibail-Rodamco Chief Executive Christophe Cuvillier said in a statement. The merger is expected to close in the first half of next year.

Westfield’s merger with Unibail-Rodamco comes at a time when several malls have closed across the U.S., as foot traffic has stalled. Mall operators have faced increased pressure to fill store vacancies.

“The industry is under severe pressure from internet selling and particularly Amazon,” John Colley, a professor at Britain’s Warwick Business School, told the Los Angeles Times. “Clearly there are significant savings as the new enterprise will need only one head office, board, systems and functional management.”

Source: “Mall Owner Westfield Sold for Nearly $16 Billion,” CNNMoney (Dec. 12, 2017) and “Shopping Mall Giant Westfield Being Sold to French Real Estate Firm in $16 Billion Deal,” Los Angeles Times (Dec. 12, 2017)