Apache Mall owner GGP hires big bankruptcy gun

Apache Mall owner GGP hires big bankruptcy gun

Here's the latest in the General Growth Properties s aga. GGP owns the Apache Mall in Rochester as well as scads of other malls across the U.S.

Kris Hudson and  Jeffrey McCracken put together a nice piece on this latest development for Dow Jones. Here's some from that:

Debt-laden mall giant General Growth Properties   has hired the law firm Sidley Austin as bankruptcy counsel while it negotiates with lenders for more time to restructure its $27 billion debt load.

The move doesn't mean a Chapter 11 filing is imminent. Financially distressed companies often hire bankruptcy advisers and never take that step.

General Growth's financial situation has steadily deteriorated this year and it's stock is trading for loose change. The company, which owns more than 200 U.S. malls, has struggled to repay debt it amassed during an acquisition binge near the market's peak. 

General Growth's most pressing problem is $900 million of mortgages due next week on the Fashion Show mall and Shoppes at the Palazzo in Las Vegas; the company has asked for, and may get, a few months' breather. The company also has $58 million in bonds due Dec. 1 and $600 million in bonds due in March and April.
General Growth's stock has sunk from an all-time high of $67 in March 2007 to less than $1. It closed Wednesday at 40 cents a share, down 7 cents, or 15%, in 4 p.m. composite trading.



A General Growth bankruptcy would rank among the largest real estate collapses in recent history. The bankruptcy of Canada's Olympia & York Developments Ltd. in 1992 involved $18.6 billion of debt and financially devastated the company's founding Reichmann family.

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