Simon Property Group (SPG) has abandoned its $3.6 billion purchase of Taubman Centers Inc. and filed suit against the Michigan-based mall owner over an alleged breach of a merger agreement.
SPG, the nation’s largest mall owner, said Taubman, which has 26 shopping centers in the U.S. and Asia, allegedly violated two conditions of the deal, according to an announcement on Wednesday (June 10).
Explaining its termination of the merger agreement, SPG said that “the COVID-19 pandemic has had a uniquely material and disproportionate effect on Taubman compared with other participants in the retail real estate industry,” and “in the wake of the pandemic, Taubman has breached its obligations, which are conditions to closing, relating to the operation of its business … [and] has failed to take steps to mitigate the impact of the pandemic as others in the industry have, including by not making essential cuts in operating expenses and capital expenditures.”
In a complaint filed with the Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac, Michigan, Indiana-based Simon Property Group said it is suing Taubman Centers for violating terms of the deal.
By midday, Taubman’s stock was down by nearly 22 percent at $35.42 after closing at $45.25 on Tuesday (June 9), according to Yahoo Finance. Simon’s stock fell more than 9 percent at $78.23 per share after closing at $86.47 Tuesday. At midday, the stock was off by 3 percent.
In February, SPG and Taubman Centers Inc. entered into an agreement for Simon to buy all of Taubman’s common stock for $52.50 per share. The Taubman family would remain a 20 percent partner.
Simon’s announcement came on the same day Jan Kniffen, a former executive of the May Department Stores, which was folded into Macy’s, revised his prediction that one-third of the nation’s 1,000 malls would shutter by 2030.
Now, Kniffen thinks that will happen by next year, CNBC reported.
“The mall has been losing ground for a long time, now it’s losing ground faster,” Kniffen told Squawk on the Street.
A PYMNTS survey last month revealed 64 percent of shoppers said they feel uneasy in all retail stores, while 53 percent said the pandemic will last more than seven months, up from five months just two weeks earlier.
In “The Great Reopening,” a PYMNTS report found consumers have little interest in leaving their homes. The April 27 survey found just 28 percent were “very” or “extremely interested” in going out more often, while 46 percent were “somewhat” or “slightly” interested in doing so and the remaining 26 percent had no interest at all in leaving their homes.