New structure drives ease of investment for institutions, creates widespread operating efficiencies, and moves firm into position for powerful future
LOS ANGELES, September 14, 2016— Westwood Financial Corp., a leading owner-operator of high quality shopping centers throughout the U.S., has restructured ownership of 77 of its 120 retail center holdings and its management company into a single, $1.2 billion retail real estate company, according to Joe Dykstra, Co-CEO of the firm.
“We’ve supercharged Westwood Financial Corp. by consolidating more than 280 entities covering 77 separately owned assets as well as our management company into a single, internally managed and administered portfolio,” Dykstra explains. “We have also massively reduced complexity, and in its place, created a powerhouse firm with a strong balance sheet, tremendous assets, greater diversification for our legacy investors, and a new level of sophistication with a much greater appeal to new investors, tenants, lenders, brokers and to the retail real estate industry as a whole.”
The new company, Westwood Financial, is now positioned to more easily access capital, appeal to investors with larger appetites, and has dramatically streamlined its operations, according to Co-CEO Randy Banchik.
“Westwood Financial is a forward-looking company, and this was a truly thoughtful and strategic process,” Banchik notes. “After generating exceptional results over the past 46 years, our founders and key executives started planning to evolve this firm as the retail industry has evolved. We worked alongside some of the top financial and legal professionals in the country to create the most appropriate structure, and the entire company helped bring this consolidation to fruition.”
Dykstra adds, “The fact that we were able to close 77 transactions on the same day to create this new structure is a testament to the sophistication and dedication of our founders, our team, and our professional advisors.”
“More than 500 investors had to agree to implement this innovative plan,” Banchik says. “These individuals, many of whom have participated in our partnerships for over 30 years, supported us because of the confidence they have in us.”
That confidence, coupled with an appreciation of the strengths and benefits of the new structure in which they are invested, led to overwhelming approval among investors, according to Banchik.
“Our investors recognized that by internalizing the management company, we were fully aligning our interests with theirs, securing and enhancing the future of Westwood Financial,” he added.
New Structure, New Brand, New Strategy
Westwood recently rebranded, launching a new logo, new signage, and a new tagline: “Retail. Evolved.” A new website is underway and will launch soon.
“Our dramatic changes demonstrate our commitment to evolve from a traditional real estate sponsor owning properties through single asset partnerships and limited liability companies, into a savvy, strategic and sophisticated real estate institution. The new structure will provide management with a balance sheet and flexibility to provide our shareholders better value in a changing shopping center world,” Dykstra adds.
“Going forward, we anticipate strategic acquisitions within the top MSAs in the nation, dispositions of several geographically outlying assets, and a focus on hiring additional world-class professionals into our firm. We will also be upgrading our technology and enhancing our brand, evolving into an institutional-ready partner,” he says.
The new company, Westwood Financial, will own and operate more than $1.2 billion in retail assets and will provide third party asset management and related services for $200 million in properties owned by the co-founders of the firm. A leader in the shopping center industry, Westwood has amassed an institutional-quality portfolio of daily needs centers in more than 25 states, and continues to seek dynamic sites in the top MSAs in the United States to further grow its portfolio.