Pershing Square Blasted Over Mall Co., Earns $1.5B Profit

Mar 5 2010 | 3:09pm ET

Pershing Square Capital Management chief William Ackman is hearing some pretty harsh words over his role in the reorganization of mall owner General Growth Properties. But he’s got more than a billion reasons to take the heat.

Both Simon Property Group, currently the low bidder for General Growth, and General Growth’s unsecured creditors blasted Pershing Square’s “obvious conflict of interest.” The New York-based hedge fund controls one-quarter of General Growth’s shares, and supports a reorganization plan backed by Brookfield Asset Management that would split General Growth in two.

The creditors committee accuses Ackman of blocking General Growth from considering other deals, including Simon’s $10 billion cash offer or a potential bid from Vornado Realty Trust.

“The debtors must choose between the best interests of the estates and the economic interests of one of their most active and vocal directors,” the creditors complained in a court filing.

For his part, Ackman is taking that criticism all the way to the bank: The bidding war has already earned the hedge fund a $1.5 billion paper profit.

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