Westfield, built at a cost of £1.6 billion became the largest covered shopping centre in London on opening in 2008
Unibail-Rodamco of France, Europe’s largest property company is to take over Westfield in a $24.7 billion deal that will create one of the world’s largest mall operators.
Westfield is best known in the UK for its developments at Shepherds Bush and Stratford in London.
Afterwards, the combined group will own 104 shopping centres, worth nearly €62 billion, and including some considered to be the best malls in the world, in 27 capital cities. It will also have a €12.3 billion pipeline of development sites that include proposals to build centres in Croydon and Milan.
The takeover of Westfield will not only be the latest “mega mall” deal but also mark the end of an era for Sir Frank Lowy, the immigrant who founded the group with John Saunders, a fellow Holocaust survivor, by building a US-style mall in a Sydney suburb in 1960. From there they built a global shopping centre brand known throughout the US, Europe, the UK and Australia and New Zealand.
During his time running the business, alongside his sons Steven and Peter, Sir Frank has developed centres in New York’s World Trade Centre and Century City in Los Angeles. The developer, knighted by the Queen at Windsor Castle last week, also persevered with development of Westfield Stratford in east London even though its construction coincided with one of the UK’s worst property recessions.