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Report: Simon considers sale of European properties

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Simon Property Group Inc. may sell several of its properties in Europe to help raise funds for a possible bid for bankrupt rival General Growth Properties.

A report from French financial news service Wansquare published Monday said the Indianapolis-based mall giant is "close to" a deal to sell five malls in France and one in Poland to Unibail Rodamco, Europe's largest property company. The deal could be worth $1.5 billion.

Simon spokesman Les Morris could not be reached for comment this afternoon.

A Wall Street analyst told Reuters the properties would fit well within Unibail's portfolio and a deal also would put Simon in a better position to make a bid for General Growth. Simon recently hired Lazard Ltd. to provide advice on a possible bid for the nation's second-largest real estate investment trust, behind Simon.

Simon has about $4 billion in cash and cash equivalents and about $3.5 billion available under a revolving credit line to do a deal.

Shares in Simon were up about 1 percent in Monday afternoon trading, to $70.60 each.

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