( MLS) buyout bonanza took another strange turn Monday.
A big shareholder in the troubled real estate investment trust joined with
to unveil a $24-a-share takeover bid, trumping a $21-a-share deal Mills announced three weeks ago with
Brookfield Asset Management
Simon will join with Farallon Capital Management, which says it owns 10.9% of Mills.
"This is a unique opportunity to acquire a portfolio of quality retail assets," said Simon Property chief David Simon. "SPG's experience operating upscale regional mall and outlet centers; previous ownership interest in certain Mills properties; and successful track record with acquisitions, integration, and property management, uniquely position us to maximize the value of these assets and make this a beneficial transaction for SPG and Mills shareholders and Farallon investors. We look forward to working with the Mills joint venture partners to improve the performance of these properties."
Brookfield offered $21 a share for Mills back on Jan. 17 in a deal that was valued at $1.35 billion. Farallon and another holder then each offered $21 a share to Mills holders in separate recapitalization proposals.
The frenzy comes at an opportune moment for Mills, which had a disastrous 2006 amid accounting woes, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and development difficulties with its Meadowlands project in New Jersey, which it has since sold.
"After a very competitive process, in which our board considered numerous alternatives for the company, we believe we have achieved an outcome that is the best possible result for all involved," said CEO Mark Ordan in a statement last month.