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Bill Ackman Urges General Growth Properties to Consider Sale of Company (GGP, BAM, SGP)

General Growth Properties Inc. (NYSE: GGP) shares surged on Thursday after Pershing Square Capital Management’s Bill Ackman urged the company to consider a sale. Ackman’s Pershing Square owns approximately 10.2% of GGP.

Ackman asked GGP to prevent Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (NYSE: BAM) from gaining more control of the company without paying a premium for it.

In a letter to GGP’s Board, Ackman wrote that Pershing Square Capital’s goals are to ensure that a level field exists so Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG), Brookfield, and potentially other parties can compete to acquire GGP. Ackman further wrote in the letter that it is only a matter of time before Brookfield de facto controls GGP. Brookfield currently owns 42.2% of GGP.

Although Ackman did not accuse Brookfield or General Growth of any wrongdoing, he wrote in the letter in that if control of GGP is ceded to Brookfield, shareholders will suffer enormous and irreparable harm for they will lose the ability to capture an appropriate control premium for their stakes.

Ackman wrote that if Simon Property Group’s offer, which was made nearly a year ago, was accepted, GGP shareholders would receive a premium of 51.2% over GGP shares closing price on Wednesday.

General Growth, whose properties include Tysons Galleria in Washington D.C., has been a takeover target for Brookfield and Simon Property for a while.

GGP had filed bankruptcy in 2009. The company exited bankruptcy protection in November 2010.

GGP shares rose 9.72% to finish at $20.32 on above average volume of 40.16 million on Thursday. The stock touched a new 52-week high of $21.12 in trading on Thursday. Year-to-date, GGP shares have gained 35.29%, compared to a gain of 11.49% for the S&P 500.

SPG shares ended 1.41% lower at $156.46 on Thursday, while BAM shares ended 0.68% lower at $35.22.



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