Pershing Square Quits Mall Owner

Feb 11 2014 | 11:37am ET

Pershing Square Capital Management has exited another long-term retail investment, an area that firm founder William Ackman acknowledged last year "has not been our strong suit."

The New York-based hedge fund has sold its remaining stake in mall owner General Growth Properties, the latter said. General Growth announced that it had repurchased the shares for about $556 million, a 3.4% discount to the stock's closing price on Monday.

Pershing Square had unloaded the first half of its formerly 8% stake in General Growth in September.

The hedge fund led a reorganization of General Growth in 2010 with Brookfield Asset Management. The relationship between the two soured soon thereafter, as Brookfield continued to boost its stake in General Growth, and as Pershing Square called for a sale of the company, which was opposed by Brookfield.

Ackman has championed a sale to General Growth rival Simon Property Group. The Wall Street Journal reports that he's abandoning that effort because talks between the two companies are not progressing.

Still, unlike its August sale of its huge J.C. Penney Co. stake, which cost Pershing Square nearly half a billion dollars, the hedge fund is up—way up—on its General Growth investment. Pershing Square paid just $60 million for its stake in the company.

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