- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2007

The bidding war over local mall developer Mills Corp. appears to have come to an end.

The Chevy Chase company has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by Simon Property Group Inc. and Farallon Capital Management LLC, which is Mills’ largest shareholder, for $1.64 billion, the companies said today.

Brookfield Asset Management Inc., the Toronto company that had signed a definitive agreement to buy Mills for $1.35 billion last month, made a last-ditch effort to hang onto the deal last night with a new bid, according to a source close to the situation.

That led Simon to increase its bid from the $1.56 billion it had offered Feb. 5. Shareholders would get $25.25 per share under the cash deal, Simon said.

The agreement with Simon — already the largest mall developer in the country — is not expected to be beat, but as Brookfield learned last week, Mills could cancel its agreement if a higher bid comes its way.

Brookfield will receive a $40 million fee for the broken agreement.

What makes Mills so valuable, despite recent revelations that executives may have mismanaged funds and that it was running out of money, is its 38 shopping centers across the country.

Locally, it owns Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg, Potomac Mills and Potomac Town Center in Prince William County, Marley Station in Glen Burnie, Md., and Arundel Mills in Hanover, Md.

A spokesman yesterday said on behalf of Simon that no decision has been made on whether the shopping centers will remain open.

Simon, an Indianapolis real estate investment trust, owns the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, Bowie Town Center, Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets in Virginia and St. Charles Towne Center in Maryland.

The deal is expected to close in 45 days.

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