Tuesday, January 13, 2009

GGP - to file or not to file?

That's apparently the discussion had between GGP and its lenders at a New York meeting on Monday, according to the Journal. While not imminent,

even if General Growth succeeds in extending those debts further, the company is facing so many other loan maturities this year that some analysts speculate the company eventually will seek bankruptcy protection. In all, General Growth has roughly two dozen separate loans totaling more than $2 billion coming due in 2009.
It looks like Kirkland and Weil, Gotschal have been giving sage advice to Metz, Nolan & Co. (Oh, and the Bucksbaums, too.) In short:
[I]n bankruptcy court, General Growth would save money by forgoing interest payments on its unsecured debt but would also incur costs from the bankruptcy process and big tax bills if it liquidates its holdings. They added that, outside of bankruptcy court, General Growth could determine its own path free of the whims of a bankruptcy judge, according to people familiar with the talks.
In non-legal parlance, I like to call this the "Come to Jesus" meeting. In short, I think GGP is telling its lenders, "Listen, we're in trouble. And if we're in trouble, so are you. We do not want to exercicse the nuclear option, but we will if we have to, and you know what pain that will bring. So, help us refinance what we can, sell what we can and restructure what we can, and maybe we can all get out of this together. If not, then you get to own a lot of shopping malls."

I could be wrong, but that is my spider sense on this one. It is what I would do. And yes, I'll be keeping an eye on doings on North Wacker Drive.