Unibail-Rodamco’s acquisition of Australian shopping mall giant Westfield may result in the spin-off of OneMarket, the retail-focused real estate technology and big data analytics division once known as Westfield Labs, according to a report from Bisnow, which cited a booklet published by Westfield on "the proposed demerger."
The booklet states that after the acquisition is completed, shareholders will vote on the demerger of OneMarket, which would lead to its public listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. That vote is scheduled for May 24.
As a so-called PropTech company, OneMarket develops technologies in consumer identification, communication, location data and logic capabilities for shopping centers and retailers that agree to share data, according to the Bisnow story.
Amazon at a surface level can be described most accurately as an online shopping mall, but the key to much of its success and many of its innovations is that it is also an extremely powerful and well-fed consumer data engine collecting, analyzing and using data to improve the customer experience and develop products customers really want (even if they may not know it until Amazon starts selling them.)
OneMarket is looking to one-up Amazon in that department and take a degree of revenge on the e-commerce colossus for making life so difficult for brick-and-mortar malls and retailers. OneMarket’s plan is to get physical stores to adopt new technology, share data and work toward a common goal of thriving — rather than barely surviving — in a retail landscape that has radically changed in recent years. By working together, one big assumption is that these malls and retailers can avoid taking on more costly and risky technology projects on their own.
This may have not been the mission when Westfield Labs was originally formed, but the company added a big data analytics team to the mix a few years ago. As OneMarket, the division reportedly has three major clients — the entity that will result from the Westfield acquisition, Nordstrom and another outside customer that has not been identified. To be as successful as hoped, OneMarket needs to sign on as many other malls and retailers as possible, something it probably can pursue more effectively spun-off as a $300 million independent company with a reported $160 million in cash.