General Growth Properties cleared to exit bankruptcy
Mall owner and operator General Growth Properties (GGP) expects to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection around Nov. 8, stronger and having paid its creditors in full. General Growth said Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper in New York confirmed the reorganization plan. “We are now prepared to begin a new era for GGP on firm financial footing,” the company said in a news release. General Growth said it will emerge from bankruptcy with a strong balance sheet and substantially less debt. The company has secured $6.8 billion in equity commitments from Brookfield Asset Management, Fairholme Funds, Pershing Square Capital Management, Blackstone and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. General Growth also restructured about $15 billion in project-level debt, renegotiating terms and extending maturity dates. As part of its reorganization, GGP will split itself into two separate publicly traded corporations, and current shareholders will receive common stock of both companies. The new GGP will remain the second-largest shopping mall owner and operator in the country, with more than 185 regional malls in 43 states, and will focus on stable, income-producing shopping malls and other real estate assets. The spin-off company, the Howard Hughes Corp., will consist of GGP’s portfolio of master-planned communities and other strategic real estate development opportunities. Write to Kerry Curry.