Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Simon's latest GGP play

So the latest letter from David Simon to Adam Metz is on the street.  They will jump into the recapitalization with $2.5 billion, together with another $1 billion from Paulson & Co. They say this is a better deal than is currently on the table in that they are not seeking warrants, and that they are also willing to work with the other bidders on a recap.  Finally, they expressed a continued interest in a financed acquisition of the company. (Thanks to Traffic Court for its summary of the situation.)

The letter also says, "Simon’s voting interest in GGP would generally be limited to 20% of the outstanding shares." That probably keeps the FTC off their backs, but I am no corporate expert by any means. At the risk of crystal-balling, what I do see is this: GGP will not want Simon as a major shareholder for very long. Everyone knows that. So, they either get rid of Simon -- sooner or later -- by dumping off some of the properties Simon is coveting. That is my immediate shoot from the hip thought on the purpose of this letter and a possible response. It may also force Pershing and Fairholme to up the ante further.  The game continues, that's for sure.

UPDATE: The WSJ moved a piece with an interesting sentence worth pondering: "The strategy could be viewed by the General Growth and Brookfield camps as an effort to undermine the Brookfield bid and eventually return to making a play for General Growth in whole."

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