Simon exploring bid to purchase rival General Growth

Simon Property Group Inc. has hired a financial adviser and a law firm to help it explore making a bid for some or all
of the assets of bankrupt rival General Growth Properties Inc.

Les Morris, spokesman for
the Indianapolis-based mall owner, confirmed to Bloomberg News on Tuesday the decision to hire Lazard
Ltd. and Wachtell, Lipton Rosen & Katz, both based in New York.

Morris declined to elaborate
to Bloomberg on Simon’s plans, and he could not be reached for comment by IBJ Wednesday morning.

General Growth is the second-largest U.S. mall owner, trailing only Simon, with more than 200
regional malls in 44 states. Indianapolis-based Simon owns or has stakes in 387 properties worldwide and seems poised to grow
its portfolio.

Simon this year conserved cash by paying most of its dividend in stock. At
the same time, it’s used its clout to launch a capital-raising spree, rolling out stock and debt
offerings at a time many real estate companies are begging for money.

The result: Simon now
has $6 billion in “dry powder” it can use for acquisitions, according to a report by J.P.

Simon executives have said malls owned by Chicago-based General Growth, which filed
for bankruptcy protection in April, would be a good fit, according to Bloomberg.

“We’re a logical
buyer,” Chairman and CEO David Simon said in a Sept. 15 interview on Bloomberg Television. “There’s a lot
we could do with those properties.”

General Growth’s prized properties include Water Tower Place and
Fashion Show, both in Chicago. The company filed for bankruptcy protection after failing to refinance debt accumulated to
pay for acquisitions.

General Growth listed $29.5 billion in assets and about $27.3 billion of debts in its Chapter
11 filing.

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