Australia-based Westfield Group is selling a 45 percent stake in 12 of its U.S. shopping malls to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, including four in San Diego County, in a deal valuing the properties at $4.8 billion.

Westfield said in a Feb. 15 release that the local malls are Westfield Horton Plaza and Westfield Mission Valley in San Diego; Westfield North County in Escondido; and Westfield Plaza Bonita in National City.

The list does not include Westfield’s malls in Carlsbad, El Cajon and the University Towne Center area.

Westfield Group co-CEOs Peter Lowy and Steven Lowy said the transaction is the latest in a series of initiatives taken by the company since November 2010 to reduce capital invested in some properties and dispose of some non-core assets.

“These initiatives provide the Group with approximately $9 billion of capital for redeployment into our higher return opportunities,” officials said in the release.

Westfield owns and operates 118 shopping centers worldwide.

— Lou Hirsh