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Unibail scoops up Westfield; GLP moves toward delisting; Oxley snaps up assets

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Unibail scoops up Westfield; GLP moves toward delisting; Oxley snaps up assets

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of Asia-Pacific real estate news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

A tale of mergers

* In a busy week of M&A activity in Asia, Westfield Corp. took the spotlight with its decision to sell to French retail landlord and Europe's biggest listed property company, Unibail-Rodamco SE. The 35% cash and 65% stock offer translates to a total consideration of US$15.68 billion and places Westfield at an enterprise value of US$24.7 billion.

The Westfield board-backed offer will result in the creation of a Dutch real estate investment trust for the buyer and an Australia-listed retail technology platform for the target. Post-merger Unibail will have a gross market value of €61.1 billion, a portfolio of 104 shopping centers in 13 markets and a world record €12.3 billion development pipeline.

The Australian Financial Review also reported that the takeover would be the biggest ever Down Under.

The sale marks the end of Frank Lowy's iconic 57-year tenure as the shopping mall giant's top dog and signals a renaissance of sorts for the Lowy family. The elder Lowy was quoted by the AFR as saying that he and his sons see the sale as an "opportunity to rekindle some entrepreneurship," free from the "useless formalities" of running a public company.

Following the sale of Westfield, the Lowy family will still have some retail property exposure in the public space with their 4.89% interest in Scentre Group, which The Australian reported in November as being worth about A$1 billion. At Scentre, a A$47.4 billion retail property group with 39 Westfield malls in Australia and New Zealand, the only Lowy family member to still hold a board seat is Westfield Co-CEO Steven Lowy, the elder Lowy's youngest of three sons.

The proposed merger also puts a lid on long-standing speculation that Westfield, which has had a global focus since Lowy fought to restructure his retail empire in 2014 for A$70 billion, will leave home and list in New York or London.

* Global Logistic Properties Ltd. is a step closer to delisting in Singapore, as the city-state's High Court today approved Nesta Investment Holdings Ltd.'s S$16 billion offer for the company. GLP is on track to have the scheme become effective Jan. 10, 2018.

* Vornado Realty Trust is tipped to be exiting its 70.00 billion-Indian-rupee real estate joint venture in India for "several hundred million dollars."

* City Developments Ltd.'s sweetened offer to buy London-listed Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Plc was rebuffed by a group of investors that holds a roughly 37% stake in the target. The investor group also urged co-shareholders to reject City Development's "highly opportunistic" and "unattractive" £6.20-per-share bid.

* UE Centennial Venture Pte. Ltd. is planning to take over WBL Corp. Ltd. for S$2.07 per share. The two companies are subsidiaries of United Engineers Ltd.

* Oasis Star Ltd. completed its A$1.30-per-share takeover of residential developer Tian An Australia Ltd.

Coming down the chimney

* In India, Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is believed to have signed an exclusivity agreement to buy a business park owned by Essar Group in Mumbai.

* GIC has been keeping busy. The Singaporean sovereign wealth fund was said to be in talks for big-ticket property deals in India, the U.K. and Paris.

* Oxley Holdings Ltd. is proving to be a big spender, with the company agreeing to pay roughly S$660.0 million this week for the Chevron House building at 30 Raffles Place, and about S$418.0 million for the 209-unit Vista Park condominium, both in Singapore.

Making a listing

* Country Garden Holdings Co. Ltd. will not spin off and list its property management subsidiary in Shanghai, a plan it hatched in late 2016. The company said it is withdrawing the proposal due to a recent policy change among certain Chinese approval authorities.

* Roughly HK$69.7 million is expected to be raised in Centurion Corp. Ltd.'s IPO in Hong Kong. The company, also listed in Singapore, plans to channel proceeds from the float toward its student accommodation project in Adelaide, Australia, and to be used as general working capital.

* Nicheliving Holdings Ltd. overhauled its Australian IPO as a result of an investor filing a lawsuit against the company. In a replacement prospectus, the company said Jetwin Investments Pty. Ltd. claimed four special purpose vehicles owned by Nicheliving owes it roughly A$21.5 million, as part of its investments in the vehicles.

As a result, Nicheliving said it will be giving Jetwin a roughly 18% stake in the company. The A$400 million residential developer also changed the timeline for the listing and added a clause to its revised prospectus that says its IPO will be dependent on the company's ability to raise at least A$5.7 million within four months from Dec. 7.

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Celest Wong contributed to this report.

As of Dec. 14, US$1 was equivalent to 64.23 Indian rupees and S$1.35.