General Growth Says No Thanks, Simon

Simon Property Group's "best and final" offer apparently was just that, or at least just its final offer, since the prize--a portfolio of 200 or so malls under the General Growth Properties banner--didn't go to Simon on Friday after GGP's board said no thanks and the bankruptcy judge went along with that decision.

May 10, 2010
By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user LancerE

Simon Property Group’s “best and final” offer apparently was just that, or at least just its final offer, since the prize–a portfolio of 200 or so malls under the General Growth Properties banner–didn’t go to Simon on Friday after GGP’s board said no thanks and the bankruptcy judge went along with that decision.

After that, Simon withdrew its $6.5 billion offer. Simon, the largest mall owner in existence, had been striving to add GGP’s portfolio for some time now.

The competing Brookfield plan, which was put together along with Pershing Square Capital Management and Fairholme Funds, will now be the stalking horse as GGP emerges from bankruptcy. “This proposal serves as an insurance policy for GGP by providing the company with the capital it requires to emerge from bankruptcy, while at the same time allowing GGP to continue soliciting higher and better financing and strategic offers pursuant to the bid procedures approved by the bankruptcy court,” said GGP CEO Adam Metz in a statement.

Even Monster Board is Optimistic About Jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, the U.S. economy added 290,000 jobs during March, and not all of those were temporary Census Bureau enumerators. That was considered good news, even though the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.9 percent from 9.7 percent because people were out looking for work in March.

The official numbers from Commerce are one thing, but perhaps just as hopefully, the Monster Employment Index increased as well in April–eight points compared with March and with year-over-year growth of 11 percent. During April, online job availability, according to Monster.com, rose in 17 of the index’s 20 industry sectors and in 21 of the 23 monitored occupational categories.

“The positive momentum in the index is consistent with other economic indicators suggesting that we may be in the early stages of an economic recovery,” Jesse Harriott, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at Monster, noted in a statement late last week, but added that not every sector was in better shape: “While most industries and occupations are showing increased demand for workers, public administration remains muted and below seasonal expectations as several state and local governments continue to face budgetary pressures.”

Big Euros to Stop Greek Contagion (Maybe)

How much is it worth to the European Union to keep Greece and other euro-economies plagued by the Greek contagion afloat? Nearly $1 trillion, according to a “stabilization mechanism” (as it’s called in EU-ese) hammered out and unveiled in considerable haste over the weekend. Of course the loans won’t be in dollars, but the bedeviled euro: 440 billion euros available from EU governments, 60 billion more from the EU itself, and maybe as much as 250 billion euros from the International Monetary Fund.

What will the markets worldwide think of the move? As soon as the deal was announced, Asian markets–which were open for business at the time–generally moved up, so that might be a hopeful sign for other markets on Monday.

The equity market bungee-jump of Thursday was a tough act to follow, so on Friday Wall Street simply gyrated a fair amount, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending down 139.89 points, or 1.33 percent. The S&P 500 lost 1.53 percent and the nervous tech sector led the Nasdaq to a 2.33 percent decline.