Ala Moana's owner looks at major deal
By John Rega
Bloomberg News Service
WASHINGTON General Growth Properties Inc., the second largest owner of shopping malls in the nation and owner of Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, said it's in talks to buy a "multi-billion-dollar" group of regional shopping centers from an unidentified buyer.
The real estate investment trust disclosed the negotiations without further detail in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. There's no assurance any agreement will be struck, the Chicago-based company said.
Analysts have identified General Growth as a possible bidder for Rodamco North America NV, the third largest U.S. mall owner. In October, the Dutch firm said it's soliciting alternatives to a hostile attempt by Australia's Westfield Holdings Ltd. to take over its management.
A year ago, Rodamco bought Urban Shopping Centers Inc. for $3.4 billion. The transaction gave it some of the most profitable shopping centers in the United States, including Garden State Mall in Paramus, N.J.; Copley Place in Boston; Water Tower Place in Chicago; Houston's Galleria; and the Century City Shopping Center in Los Angeles.
General Growth "is pursuing a potential acquisition involving a multibillion-dollar portfolio of regional shopping centers and other assets," the filing said, and the owner is reviewing the proposal.
General Growth owns or manages 141 malls in 39 states with about 125 million square feet, making it second in size to Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. The company was one of the most active buyers of malls in the 1990s