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General Growth hearing delayed to weigh bids

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General Growth Properties Inc., the second-biggest U.S. mall owner, said a bankruptcy court hearing on its auction process will be delayed five days to give the company time to consider competing investment plans.

Simon Property Group Inc. and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. are each leading groups that want to back General Growth, which has been under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the past year. The hearing was postponed to May 4 from April 29, Chicago-based General Growth said Monday in a statement.

The delay will allow General Growth to speak with its investor committees and “other parties concerning the full range of offers, proposals and commitments received and complete its assessment thereof,” the company said.

Indianapois-based Simon, spurned in February when it offered to buy General Growth outright for $10 billion, earlier this month said it would match the terms of a bankruptcy-exit proposal led by Brookfield. Each plan would keep General Growth an independent company, and would need bankruptcy court approval. Simon, the largest U.S. mall owner, has said it is still interested in a full takeover of its rival.

General Growth filed the largest real estate bankruptcy in U.S. history in April 2009 after amassing $27 billion in debt making acquisitions. Its properties include New York’s South Street Seaport, Boston’s Faneuil Hall and the Grand Canal Shoppes and Fashion Show in Las Vegas.

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