NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman wants mall operator General Growth Properties (GGP - Get Report) to sell itself to Simon Property Group (SPG - Get Report) in a prospective $20 billion-plus deal that could be one of the largest U.S. acquisitions since the financial crisis. That's not news -- Ackman unveiled the plans in an August letter -- but the hedge fund manager seems to be prioritizing the proposed deal over other "shakeup" bets he has made in recent history.
Speaking at the Value Investing Congress on Monday, Ackman who runs Pershing Square Capital Management, led a keynote presentation by detailing his General Growth M&A efforts, while putting J.C. Penney (JCP - Get Report) and Procter & Gamble (PG - Get Report) on the bully pulpit backburner.
Ackman's fund has put big money behind restructuring efforts at J.C. Penney and calls for management change at consumer products giant Procter & Gamble, amid a heavy slate of 2012 investments. But the clock may be ticking on General Growth much faster, with a rival for the real estate company buying up shares in what Ackman says is an effort to thwart any takeover alternative.
Ackman's presentation on General Growth reiterated his goal to sell the mall operator to Simon Property, netting shareholders a premium to what 40%-plus shareholder Brookfield Asset Management (BAM - Get Report) would pay for a majority stake.Ackman owns more than 10% of General Growth's shares, making his fund the company's second-largest shareholder. "It is only a matter of time before Brookfield de facto controls the company," warned Pershing in a letter sent to General Growth during the summer. "