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Lowy: Unibail takeover accelerates ASX listing of Westfield's OneMarket spinoff

Unibail-Rodamco SE's proposed US$15.68 billion takeover of Westfield Corp. is speeding up the planned listing on the Australian stock exchange of the target's retail technology spinoff, OneMarket Chairman Steven Lowy told The Australian Financial Review.

Lowy was reported by the publication as saying that the merger proposal had brought forward the timeline for the spinoff, adding that the new schedule is "earlier" than initially anticipated. Despite the rush, Lowy maintained that it would be ideal for the business to be separated from Westfield so that it would be able to be a retail tech company and not a real estate enterprise.

OneMarket, formerly known as Westfield Retail Solutions, was primarily established with the objective of helping traditional retail stay competitive against companies such as e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc., the publication noted.

To achieve its goal, OneMarket built a platform for retailers that will allow the sharing of databases that will also make it easier for shoppers to search, locate and compare prices for products both online and in the physical retail space, the report noted Dec. 14.

Don Kingsborough, the recently appointed CEO of OneMarket, shared with the publication that in order to optimize the platform, the company intends to utilize social apps with a massive network of users that are already available in customers' phones. OneMarket is forging alliances with tech giants such as Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Apple Inc. to tap into existing networks such WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or cellphone texts.

Ahead of its 2018 IPO, the Westfield spinoff will hold about US$200 million in cash. The company will be 90% held by Westfield shareholders who will have the option to sell out.

Lowy added that OneMarket has a risk profile that is very different from that of its parent.