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Issue Date: Vol. 50, No. 3, March 2010, Posted On: 2/19/2010

Mall Giant Simon Bids For Rival

Hank Schlesinger
bulk vending, coin-op machines, amusement machines, videogames, arcade games, Simon Property Group, General Growth, shopping malls, vending locations

INDIANAPOLIS -- Simon Property Group Inc., the nation's largest shopping mall owner and innovator, made a $10 billion bid on Feb. 16 to acquire its rival General Growth Properties, which is seeking to emerge from bankruptcy. Terms of the offer were made public by Simon after General Growth's board failed to respond to a formal offer made on Feb. 8.

The move is Simon's second attempt at a major acquisition in the past three months. In December, it offered $700 million in cash and stock to buy more than 60 outlet shopping centers from another competitor, Prime Outlets Acquisition Co. That deal is pending.

Simon's innovative approach to shopping malls, including the creation of the so-called "lifestyle center mall," has allowed it to ride out recent economic difficulties better than its competitors. Simon's properties were among the first to feature amusement attractions, including coin-operated rides and bulk vending in its main concourses.

General Growth, which owns more than 200 malls, filed for bankruptcy last April after taking on billions of dollars in debt during a massive expansion effort. It was the largest real estate bankruptcy in U.S. history.

If its bid for General Growth is successful, Simon, which started in 1960 with a single property in Bloomington, IN, would sit atop an empire of 580 malls -- at least a third of the U.S. market. It would also own nearly half of the country's 319 best-performing malls in terms of sales.

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