French giant Unibail-Rodamco has agreed to buy Westfield for $24.7bn, marking the biggest takeover of an Australian company on record.

Westfield, which owns 35 shopping centres in the US and the UK and is valued at $32bn, said the transaction was “highly compelling” for its and Unibail-Rodamco’s shareholders, Reuters reported. 

In a statement, Westfield chairman and co-founder Frank Lowy said: “Unibail-Rodamco’s track record makes it the natural home for the legacy of Westfield’s brand and business.”

Unibail-Rodamco – a European shopping centre specialist – said putting the two companies together would create a global property leader with $72bn of gross market value, strategically positioned in 27 of the world’s most attractive retail markets.

It comes just days after shopping centre owner Hammerson agreed to acquire rival Intu in a deal valuing the latter at £3.4bn.

Westfield’s flagship malls include Westfield London, where it is working on a £600m expansion, and Century City in Los Angeles, where it is completing a $1bn overhaul.

Unibail-Rodamco said Westfield shareholders would receive a combination of cash and shares, valuing Westfield at $7.55 a share.