Westfield sells 5 malls for $1.1 billion

Westfield Corp. has sold five U.S. properties for $1.1 billion with an eye toward reducing debt and redirecting funds to a property development program.

Together with a previous sale in November, Westfield has roughly $1 billion in net proceeds, according to Bloomberg Business. The proceeds will be used to fund the company's $11.4 billion development fund.

"Our strategic focus is to create and operate flagship assets in leading markets and divest non-core assets," said Westfield's Co-CEO Peter Lowy. "Today's announcement marks a significant milestone in our divestment strategy."

Westfield and other mall operators have been investing in technology—both back-end and customer-facing—to create lifestyle centers with digital displays, mobile apps and new dining destinations. In October, Westfield hired Raghav Lal as exec-VP, chief data and analytics officer to lead its newly developed big data and analytics group.

The malls sold include the Connecticut Post mall in Milford, Connecticut; Fox Valley in Aurora, Illinois; Hawthorn in Vernon Hills, Illinois; MainPlace in Santa Ana, California; and Vancouver mall in Vancouver, Washington.

The properties were purchased by a newly formed joint venture with Centennial Real Estate as the managing member along with Montgomery Street Partners (an affiliate of Blum Capital Partners) and USAA Real Estate.

Westfield will retain a 20 percent non-managing common equity interest in the properties.

For more:
-See this Westfield press release
-See this Bloomberg Business story

Related stories:
Westfield adds analytics chief to boost innovation
Mall operators Simon, Taubman introduce digital upgrades
Macy's, Nordstrom pilot 7-ft. 'digital storefront' inside mall
The Mall: Destination Entertainment
Simon malls partner with Refinery29 to woo millennials