General Growth names Ackman spinoff chairman

By Reuters
Posted Oct. 8, 2010 at 3:36 p.m.

General Growth Properties Inc. on Friday named the board of its future spin-off company and appointed hedge fund manager William Ackman to become its chairman when the mall owner and property developer emerges from bankruptcy.

It also will call the company the Howard Hughes Corp., named for the eccentric U.S. entrepreneur who died in as a recluse in 1976.

General Growth, which filed for bankruptcy in April 2009, plans to emerge from Chapter 11 as two companies. The mall company will retain the name and house about 185 mall properties. It is expect to exit bankruptcy in November.

The Howard Hughes Corp will consist of its master-planned community business, malls and other projects under various stages of development; land; other non-income-producing properties; and General Growth’s headquarters in Chicago.

General Growth inherited the master-planned community business, which includes Summerlin, Nevada, when it bought the Rouse Co. in 2004. Rouse had bought the master-planned community business from the Hughes Corp.

General Growth’s exit plan is being bankrolled by an $8.5 billion of commitments from investors led by Brookfield Asset Management Inc., and including Pershing Square Capital Management L.P. and fund manager Fairholme Funds Inc.

Pershing Square will own 9.5 percent of Hughes when it emerges from bankruptcy.

General Growth’s plan of reorganization also called for Ackman to choose two other board members. Ackman selected Gary Krow, chief executive officer of GiftCertificates and former president of Comdata Corp, a unit of Ceridian Corp. He also chose Allen Model, co-founder and managing director of Overseas Strategic Consulting Ltd.

Brookfield was allowed to name one board member: David Arthur, Brookfield Asset Management managing partner, Real Estate Investments, North America.

General Growth’s board selected Adam Flatto, president of the Georgetown Company, a privately held real estate investment and development company, and Jeff Furber, CEO of real estate investment management services company AEW Capital Management LP.

It also named Scot Sellers, CEO of apartment owner Archstone and Steve Shepsman, executive managing director of real estate advisory firm New World Realty Advisor and the head of General Growth’s Official Equity Committee.

One seat on the board will be reserved for the company’s CEO, who is expected to be announced after the spin-off is completed.

On Tuesday, the Chicago-based company named the directors and chairman of the board of the post bankruptcy mall company, which will still be known as General Growth Properties.

General Growth shares were up 2 percent to $16.09 on the New York Stock Exchange.


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