has hired investment adviser
and law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to help explore a potential bid for rival
General Growth Properties
, which is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a report says.
Simon Property Chairman David Simon previously has made public announcements that it would study General Growth for a potential acquisition. The mall operator, the biggest in the U.S., has amassed a $4 billion war chest through the sale of stock and bonds, the
Wall Street Journal
A Simon representative confirmed the company has hired the advisers.
General Growth, the second largest mall operator, is planning a reorganization of its business and is talking to lenders to restructure $11.5 billion in securitized mortgages. People familiar with the talks told the
that General Growth intends to file a reorganization plan in February.
Meanwhile, Australian mall owner
, which reportedly has $6.8 billion in cash, is said to be closely monitoring General Growth's bankruptcy, the
reports. Westfield operates 55 malls in the U.S.