Westfield Corporation shareholders have voted, sealing the $33 billion deal in favour of Paris property giant Unibail-Rodamco, and marking Australia’s largest ever takeover.
The deal, announced in December for the company Sir Frank Lowy spent 58 years building, was overwhelmingly supported by Unibail shareholders at a meeting last week, and backed by Westfield directors and the Lowy family – who will hold a 2 per cent to 3 per cent share in the newly-merged company.
The 87-year-old Lowy, who now retires as Westfield chairman, established the company in Sydney’s west and listed it on the share market in 1960.
“Unibail is the natural home for the Westfield business. I believe it is highly compelling for Westfield shareholders,” Lowy said.
The company, which will have 62 billion euros ($95 billion) worth of assets in 13 countries, is expected to begin trading next month on the Paris and Amsterdam exchanges with a secondary listing in Australia.
The company's security holders will receive $US2.67 ($A3.53) in cash and 0.01844 securities in Unibail for each Westfield share.
Westfield shares more than doubled last Friday with 23 million securities changing hands.
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Lowy, who will now chair a newly created advisory board for Unibail, was chief executive for 50 years before handing it over to his sons Steven and Peter in 2011.
The businessman was met with a standing ovation from current and former executives and shareholders at his final annual general meeting as Westfield chairman.
“In all my activities, with Westfield, with football, in foreign policy – it’s all been about showing the best of Australia to the world.”
Lowy gave an emotional farewell, speaking of his arrival to Australia as a World War II refugee and Holocaust survivor, and expressed his gratitude.
"I encountered no prejudice. Instead, I was embraced and given every opportunity to flourish," he said.
He thanked his family, and Westfield for the "incredible journey".
"I leave with no regrets, only faith in the future for the new Westfield, and for Australia," Lowy said.
"With these words and with your permission I will close the meeting and say goodbye."