Sixty years after helping launch the first Westfield shopping centre in Blacktown, Frank Lowy has sold off his shares in Scentre Group, finalising his exit from the Australian retail market.
The Lowy family’s 206.1 million shares sold for approximately $815 million to investment bank UBS, which went on to offer the shares for a 1.3 per cent discount on Wednesday’s closing price of $4.01, according the AFR.
Shares in Scentre Group fell 2.5 per cent on Thursday morning, sitting at $3.91 a share at the time of publication.
The 87-year-old founder retired as chairman of Scentre Group in 2015, and from the role of chairman of Westfield Corporation in 2018, stating the decision was both frightening and a great relief.
“All my life from a young man I have worked very hard and I enjoyed it very much, [but] I was really afraid with what I would do when I no longer had the responsibility,” Lowy said at a business conference in Sydney.
“And then the day came and I felt great relief instead of all those fears that I had – they all disappeared.
“It’s time to retire for me – if there is such a thing.”
Scentre Group and UBS have been contacted for comment.
The property group also announced on Wednesday that chief operating officer Greg Miles would retire in 2020 after 23 years in the business.
As a response, Scentre Group stated it would flatten its management structure.
“Greg has been an invaluable member of the Scentre Group and Westfield executive teams for a significant period, the last four as Scentre Group’s chief operating officer where he has helped to shape a new organisation, brand and culture,” Scentre Group chief executive Peter Allen said.
“We have been fortunate to have benefitted from Greg’s unparalleled experience, insight and judgement.”