France’s Unibail-Rodamco to take over Westfield shopping malls in $24.7bn deal
Westfield shopping malls across the US are about to have a new owner in the form of French retail heavyweight Unibail-Rodamco.
The Australian firm has accepted a $24.7bn offer which will see the transfer of 35 sites in the USA and UK, subject to regulatory approvals.
Longstanding owner Sir Frank Lowy started the business with a single shop in Sydney in 1950, and after almost seven decades has decided to pass on ownership.
On announcing the news, Lowy said: “The transaction announced today is the culmination of the strategic journey Westfield has been on since its 2014 restructure. We see this transaction as highly compelling for Westfield’s securityholders and Unibail-Rodamco’s shareholders alike.
“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.”
- US online retail sales to surpass $1trn by 2027
- Wal-Mart partners up with fashion retailer Lord & Taylor
- See the latest issue of Business Review USA magazine here
It would be the biggest takeover of an Australian company on record, at the same time creating an enormous retail giant that would look to resist the challenges presented by ecommerce players such as Amazon, which recently went online in Australia.
An important part of this has been a redefinition of a shopping center’s purpose, with Westfield seen as something of a forerunner in diversifying its offerings in the US. This includes installation of higher-end bars and restaurants and establishment of entertainment venues like cinemas.
Around 70% of Westfield’s revenues derive from its assets in the US, and the company has already committed to a $1bn redevelopment of Century City in Los Angeles.
Unibail-Rodamco hopes to close the deal in Q2 of 2018, which will see its portfolio grow from 69 to 104 properties, worth around $72bn.
CB Insights: US Insurtechs Compete In A Now Global Market
In the first half of the year, insurtech companies around the world have raised US$7.4bn, nearly doubling their funding in Q2. According to Digital Insurance, insurtechs have raised US$4.8bn in Q2—an 89% increase in funding from Q1. But US firms are no longer the sole beneficiaries.
What Are the Stats?
Out of the 15 Q2 mega-rounds—those that top US$100mn—only eight included American firms. Pretty good, you might say. That’s over half! But US companies only made up 38% of the deals, which marks a 10% drop from Q1 and a 12% drop from 2020. Technically, therefore, US insurtechs are less influential than they’ve been in the past. But who says this is a bad development?
Despite my American citizenship, I’d argue that a more globally diverse insurance market is only for the best. Many of the world’s citizens who could most benefit from improved insurance services live outside of the States—and deserve local, tech-savvy services.
Why Does This Matter?
You’re always going to see the typical insurtech contenders from Western countries. For instance:
- German-based wefox: US$650mn Series C
- UK-based Bought By Many: US$350mn Series D
- US-based Collective Health: US$280mn Series F
But it’s critical that we address risk across the world. American insurtechs might be some of the most technologically skilled firms in the industry, but it’s not their first goal to address floods in Southeast Asia, crop destruction in China, and COVID complications in South Africa. That’s why we should celebrate that the recent Q2 round included insurtechs from 35 different countries.
According to CB Insights’ Q2 2021 Quarterly InsurTech Briefing, this was the first time that they’d observed insurtech activity in Botswana, Mali, Romania, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. And ‘from a product, service, distribution, and underlying risk perspective, we—as a society and as an industry—are moving at an unprecedented speed’, says Dr. Andrew Johnston, Global Head of Willis Re InsurTech.
Just ask CB Insights. InsurTech value propositions have resonated with the world.