It’s been almost four months since the news broke that Unibail-Rodamco wanted to acquire Westfield. Shareholders now have a better idea of how the proposed deal will unfold.
The transaction remains subject to the conditions described in the Implementation Agreement, which essentially summarised the terms of the bid.
A few key milestones to completion have already been reached, including the approval of the proposed terms by various internal Unibail committees and Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval.
The next steps from a Westfield perspective includes the first Australian Scheme Court hearing, scheduled for April 12.
Of more importance to Westfield shareholders is the forthcoming Explanatory Memorandum. It will set out the detail behind the rationale for the transaction and will almost certainly strongly endorse the proposal.
Separately, Westfield will also have commissioned an Independent Experts Report. It, too, is likely to support the acquisition.
During this period shareholders will need to assess these documents and make up their own minds about supporting the plan, before voting on it.
From there, the Unibail-Rodamco Annual General Meeting is on May 17, followed by the Westfield Scheme meeting a week later, when shareholder votes will be tallied and the deal approved (or otherwise).
If the deal proceeds – and we fully expect it will – Westfield shareholders will then have to elect whether to accept the offer and hold units in Unibail (separately listed on the ASX) or sell their units beforehand.
By the end of May we expect the second Australian Scheme Court hearing, which will be asked to formally approve the implementation of the agreement (that has, presumably, been approved by the respective shareholders in the two weeks prior).
If all goes to plan, the implementation date is expected to be June 7, 2018. This will be a momentous day for the Australian Securities Exchange, the first since 29 September, 1961 that a Westfield entity is not listed on the ASX.
It will, however, herald the availability of a new, lower risk, highly diversified, higher yielding investment option in Unibail. (See this post on why we believe Unibail might be a better investment than Westfield).
We’ll be keeping Westfield shareholders abreast of developments as the timeline proceeds so please check back regularly for updates.