NEW YORK — If Simon Properties and Westfield America succeed in their $1.74 billion joint takeover bid for Taubman Centers, it would bring the duo an upscale mall Westfield reportedly has been eyeing for some time: the Beverly Center, 70 percent of which is now owned by Taubman.
The Beverly Center — a 900,000-square-foot regional mall opened in 1982 and anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, a 13-screen movie theater and California’s only Grand Lux Cafe — would become the jewel in the crown of Westfield’s Los Angeles-area malls. That portfolio includes Westfield Shoppingtown Topanga, Westfield Century City, and the recently acquired Fashion Square. “Westfield has quite a number of [shopping mall] properties in the Los Angeles area that are good but not outstanding,” noted Paul Morgan, a senior real estate analyst in the San Francisco office of investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners.
Although Westfield America, a Century City, Calif.-based unit of an Australian real estate investment trust, typically hangs its own name on its shopping malls, if it and Simon acquire the Beverly Center, they are likely to leave the nameplate alone. Beverly Center has enough cachet on its own, Morgan reasoned, with a 20-year presence in the market and healthy local and tourist traffic.
But Morgan says the odds are still against the joint bid for Taubman — “even though $20 a share is very attractive” —because the Taubman family could potentially kill a deal.
Indianapolis-based Simon, the country’s largest mall developer, with ownership or a stake in 249 properties, Morgan said, “has butted heads over the years” with Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Taubman. “Taubman sees its business as a collection of jewels and Simon is a consolidator.”
Besides the Beverly Center, Taubman’s upscale properties include Sunvalley in Concord, Calif.; Cherry Creek in Denver; Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix, and The Mall At Short Hills, in Short Hills, N.J.