Industry kibitzers are abuzz with combined anxiety, excitement and speculation after a report over the weekend revealed that Westfield Group (WDC) and its offshoot Westfield Retail Trust have divorced from AMP Capital after 50 years of blended bliss enveloping shopping centres with a combined $6 billion worth.
Differing corporate management styles reportedly led to the split, The Australian reported. Between the two, AMP was the conservative type while Westfield was aggressive and more fast-moving.
In separate statements to the Australian stock exchange on Monday, the two property trusts said the groups are currently in confidential negotiations on asset reallocation of shopping center interests. However, talks are still inconclusive as no binding arrangements have been reached, they added.
"The ongoing negotiations involve the existing portfolio of assets in which the AMP (including AMP-managed funds), Westfield Group and the (Westfield Retail) Trust have various ownership interests, however no binding arrangements have been entered into between the parties," Westfield said in a statement.
"A further announcement will be made if these negotiations do result in a binding arrangement between the relevant parties."
The split will affect at least six of Australia's largest shopping centres, according to The Australian.
AMP is expected to take over the stakes that it does not own in three shopping centres, including the Macquarie Centre, Pacific Fair and Booragoon, with a combined value of $1.1 billion at December 31.
Westfield, meanwhile, might probably take full ownership of three other shopping centres, including Warringah Mall, Knox City and Mount Gravatt, with a total combined worth of some $1.2 billion.
Westfield might also buy the management rights for Warringah for $15 million.
Westfield and AMP own and manage assets worth about $57.7 billion in Australia.
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