FRENCH FIRM ACQUIRES WESTFIELD FOR $16B Westfield Corp. was acquired by French commercial real estate firm Unibail-Rodamco for $16 billion, the companies announced last week. Westfield, which has a headquarters in Century City, just finished a $1 billion renovation of Westfield Century City in October in an effort to remain competitive as shopping mall traffic declines nationally. The transaction valued the company at $24.7 billion, which includes debt, according to a press release. Westfield declined to provide additional comment on the deal. Unibail-Rodamco will have regional headquarters in Los Angeles and London and its main headquarters in Paris and the Netherlands. The cash-and-stock deal values each share of Westfield at $7.55, an 18 percent premium over the company’s Dec. 11 closing stock price. The combined company will control retail properties worth $72.2 billion.The deal will allow Unibail-Rodamco to expand into, “new attractive real estate markets,” Christophe Cuvillier, chief executive of Unibail-Rodamco, said in a statement.

– Staff Report

New FEES TO FUND AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The Los Angeles City Council last week approved the imposition of linkage fees on developers of new residential and commercial projects to generate revenue for an affordable housing fund. The Council voted unanimously to impose the linkage fees, which range from $1 per square foot of new development to $15 per square foot. The vote came despite opposition from business groups and developers who argued the fees would discourage new development in the city and that in many cases, they would be passed on to renters or owners of the new units. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who made passage of a linkage fee the centerpiece for his plan to build new affordable housing units in the city, signed the ordinance at a press conference immediately after it passed the council. The fees would start to take effect next year and be fully implemented by mid-2019.

– Howard Fine

FORMER YAHOO EXEC HEADS TO ROBOTICS FIRM

Miso Robotics, a maker of burger-flipping robotic arms, announced last week the appointment of former Yahoo executive Melissa Burghardt as its chief operating officer. The Pasadena startup appointed a chief operating officer to help the company organize and execute its plans to install robots in CaliBurger restaurants starting in the first quarter of 2018, Miso Robotics said in a press release. Miso Robotics’ robotic arm, named Flippy, was developed by a trio of Caltech-educated engineers. The arm can identify and flip patties at various stages of cooking and then place the grilled meat on a bun. The startup plans to expand the installation of the robotic arm to more than 50 CaliBurger restaurants by the end of 2019.

– Garrett Reim

REPORT: L.A. HOTEL DEALS SOME OF YEARS BIGGEST

Two of the 10 biggest hotel transactions in the U.S. this year involved L.A. properties, according to research published last week by Santa Barbara real estate technology firm Yardi Systems Inc. Both sales were of Hollywood hotels. The $280 million sale of the 286-room James in West Hollywood, now known as the Jeremy West Hollywood, by CIM Group to Starwood Capital in July came in No. 6 on the list of the twenty biggest sales by sale price. The $219 million sale of the 305-room W Hollywood in March by HEI Hotels and Resorts and Gatehouse Capital to Host Hotels and Resorts made eighth place. The biggest deal of the year as of Nov. 27 was the $600 million sale of the unfinished Fontainebleau Las Vegas in August by Icahn NV Gaming Acquisition to Witkoff and New Valley.

– Caroline Anderson

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