The rumors from ICSC’s 2002 Spring Convention were proved true today when The Macerich Co. officially announced its purchase of Westcor — due to finalize in third quarter 2002.

The Santa-Monica-based REIT is acquiring Phoenix-based Westcor’s portfolio for $1.5 billion, representing an 8.5% cap rate. The Westcor portfolio includes nine regional malls, 18 urban villages, 352 acres of outparcels and option rights for 1,000 acres. The stabilized Westcor malls have sales of $407 per sq. ft. and a 92% occupancy rate.

Salomon Smith Barney analysts Jonathan Litt and Ross Nussbaum believe Macerich may sell some centers or enter into a joint venture on some regional malls in order to fund the $662 million in cash needed to close the deal. In a report released today, Litt and Nussbaum speculate that Macerich could sell its interest in 14 Midwestern malls jointly owned with Simon Property Group.

Litt and Nussbaum also say that Macerich CFO Tom O’Hearn indicated a key component of the deal was the fact that Macerich will allow the Westcor management team to remain intact.