Bill Ackman appears to be shedding some light on what is really going on with General Growth Properties (GGP). Respected real estate investors Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) seems to be attempting to buy GGP outright pending financing, but has been unable to do so while Simon Property Group (SPG) has shown interest in the past at merging the companies. While I do believe that buying GGP would be extremely accretive to SPG, one issue that Ackman doesn’t cover in his response is the expensive stock that GGP shareholders would be receiving. Simon is currently trading at 29.7 times forward earnings and only offers a dividend yield of 2.48% which isn’t great for a R.E.I.T. If the deal was in cash it would obviously be more attractive for GGP shareholder but would be unrealistic for SPG at this time. This should be a fun story to watch as these are some real heavyweight investors doing battle. We are looking at some “workout” strategies but are reluctant as the R.E.I.T. space in general looks to be quite expensive on a relative basis.
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