INTERNATIONAL. French property group Unibail-Rodamco has agreed to acquire Australia’s Westfield Corporation, a leading US airport developer and owner of shopping centres around the world.

The transaction is estimated to be worth US$24.7 billion. It has been unanimously recommended by Westfield’s Board of Directors and Unibail-Rodamco’s Supervisory Board.

Christophe Cuvillier, Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer of Unibail-Rodamco, will become Group Chief Executive Officer once the deal is completed. Colin Dyer, current Chairman of Unibail-Rodamco, will be the Group Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

Westfield Chairman Sir Frank Lowy, who co-founded the company in the 1950s, will retire as Chairman following the sale.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018.

Cuvillier commented: “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 USA.

“We believe that this transaction represents a compelling opportunity for both companies to realise benefits not available to each company on a standalone basis, and creates a strong and attractive platform for future growth.”

Westfield has driven a major redevelopment at Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 1 as master developer. The Marketplace, pictured, is a key feature

Lowy said: “The transaction announced today is the culmination of the strategic journey Westfield has been on since its 2014 restructure. 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.”

A 90% interest in OneMarket, Westfield’s retail technology platform, will be spun-off into a newly formed entity.

Westfield’s portfolio includes shopping areas at US airports such as Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International, Los Angeles International and Orlando International. It is also developing a new shopping centre adjacent to Milan Linate Airport that is expected to be completed in 2020.