A bankruptcy judge granted mall real estate investment trust (REIT) General Growth Properties (GGP) a nearly five-month extension period to file a plan of reorganization for the company to exit bankruptcy. The US bankruptcy judge said Chicago-based GGP now has until July 15 to file a reorganization plan, and no other party is permitted to file a competing plan of reorganization. In addition, the judge granted GGP an extension of the period to solicit acceptances of a plan of reorganization through September 15. The extension is about a month shorter than what GGP originally requested. “We are pleased with the bankruptcy court’s decision today,” GGP CEO Adam Metz said in a statement. “The extension is consistent with our timeline for evaluating all alternatives for emergence and recognizes our tremendous accomplishments in these large and complex Chapter 11 cases in a short amount of time.” The extension could hinder plans by rival mall REIT Simon Property Group (SPG) to takeover GGP. As HousingWire previously reported, the Indianapolis-based Simon made an unsolicited $10bn offer for GGP, which came with the support of GGP’s unsecured creditors. GGP rejected the Simon offer, resulting in a public back-and-forth between the two shopping mall rivals. “We appreciate the court’s decision to shorten the exclusivity period requested by General Growth. The court has made it abundantly clear that General Growth must now conduct a truly fair process with all parties on a level playing field,” Simon Property Group said in a statement. “Today we have been permitted to commence due diligence, and we will determine our best course of action as we move forward.” A week after the Simon bid was made public, GGP announced it had reached a tentative deal for Canadian real estate firm Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) to invest $2.63bn in GGP. That proposal would ensure GGP remained its own company after bankruptcy, but would result in two companies, GGP and General Growth Opportunities, which would own certain GGP non-core assets, such as all of the company’s master planned communities and landmark developments like South Street Seaport and others. The Brookfield plan is contingent upon GGP raising billions in a stock offering. To that end, GGP applied to re-list its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange, which is scheduled to begin on Friday. Since its bankruptcy, GGP stock has been traded on the over-the-counter securities market operated by Pink OTC Markets. Write to Austin Kilgore. The author held no relevant investments.

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