Washington Prime shares set stage for NYSE debut

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Shares of fledgling firm Washington Prime Group Inc. hovered just under $21 in advance trading on Wednesday morning, providing a window to its official open Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

The real estate investment trust is a spinoff of Indianapolis-based retail behemoth Simon Property Group Inc. On Wednesday, Simon investors were to receive a distribution of one share of Washington Prime for every two shares they held in Simon.

Simon shares were essentially unchanged in morning trading Wednesday, having dropped 39 cents, to $176.16 per share. In so-called “when issued” trading, Washington Prime shares were down 23 cents, to $20.74.

Prior to the start of official trading, underwriters can solicit potential investors who may elect to book an order to purchase a portion of the new issue. These orders are made conditionally, or "when issued.”

Simon announced the spinoff in December. The new REIT will own 98 retail properties, including 13 in Indiana, and is expected to generate net operating income of more than $400 million in its first year.

Washington Prime is grouping Simon strip centers and smaller enclosed malls into its portfolio, allowing management to focus specifically on that market segment. Simon will concentrate on its larger malls and other premium properties.

The new company, listed under the “WPG” ticker symbol, will be added to the S&P MidCap 400 and the S&P SmallCap 600 indexes.


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