One Of America’s Biggest Mall Developers Might Sell Itself

by MR Magazine Staff

The CEO of the No. 2 U.S. mall developer General Growth Properties has had it with the narrative that shopping centers are dying. Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of the owner of such malls as Fashion Show in Las Vegas, and Ala Moana in Honolulu, surprised investors on Monday when he said he was looking at “strategic alternatives” for company, frustrated that the stock market wasn’t giving his company more credit for the quality of the malls in GGP’s portfolio. The company had just reported its quarterly financial results, which included occupancy of 95.9% of space at its established malls. Still, the idea among many investors that malls are in trouble, bolstered by a surge of headline-grabbing retail bankruptcies and mass store closings by top retailers, has taken hold, hurting the stocks of mall owners like GGP and its larger rival Simon Property Group, which last week reported a similar occupancy. All the agita around retail has been a drag on mall stocks, even those of GGP and Simon, both of which operate primarily high quality, productive malls: GGP shares are down about 28% off a multi-year high hit last June. Simon has taken a similar beating. “There is a wide discount between public and private markets,” Mathrani said on the conference call. “The sum of the parts is far greater than GGP’s current stock price. We are reviewing all strategic alternatives to bridge the gap.” When pushed on whether “strategic alternatives” could mean a sale of the company, as the term usually implies in corporate jargon, Mathrani would only say “There is no sacred cow.” He also suggested the company could sell off some assets and offer a special dividend, among other options. Read more at Fortune.