Charlie Aitken pushes Westfield deal

Bell Potter exec throws his weight behind Lowy family, advises investors to follow.

Bell Potter executive director Charlie Aitken has strongly advised clients to vote in favour of the proposed Westfield restructure, The Australian Financial Review reports.

A vote is scheduled for June 20 after an earlier decision was delayed as the vote looked unlikely to pass.

Under the proposed restructure, Westfield Group would merge its Australian and New Zealand business with those of the separately listed Westfield Retail Trust to create a new entity, Scentre.

“My advice is to vote ‘yes’, stay aligned to the Lowy family and the Westfield management team, and then hold on for the day in the future when both Westfield Group and Scentre Group are taken over at significant premiums to net tangible asset backing,” he wrote, according to the AFR.

Bell Potter clients hold around 25 million Westfield Retail Trust units, but Mr Aitken noted that he had no interest in the merger.

According to the newspaper, Mr Aitken pushed the importance of alignment with the Lowy family, who will own 4% of Westfield Retail Trust and 8% of international-focused business Westfield Corporation if the deal proceeds.

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