FINANCE

General Growth inks deal with Brookfield Asset Management

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago General Growth Properties announced Wednesday that it had reached an agreement in principle with Canadian property manager Brookfield Asset Management that will enable General Growth to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

General Growth said Brookfield, which has an extensive portfolio of high-rise office properties in the United States, will invest approximately $2.5 billion in cash in exchange for General Growth shares, giving Brookfield a 30% stake in the Chicago-based company. General Growth says shareholders would receive a total of $15 a share as part of the plan.

General Growth envisions emerging from bankruptcy and raising up to $5.8 billion in cash to pay off creditors.

The plan also calls for the General Growth to spin off some assets as a new company. It reportedly would turn General Growth into a larger, healthier entity that owned at least 170 of the company’s malls and a smaller one that owned about 28 or so less desirable properties, as well as several noncore businesses. Brookfield would also invest a further $125 million in shares of the new company formed with the non-core holdings.

The deal requires approval by the bankruptcy court.

The reorganization plan is meant to fend off an unsolicited $10 billion takeover offer from the Simon Property Group. While it would leave General Growth independent upon exiting Chapter 11, it also would make Brookfield one of its largest equity holders.

Under the deal, Brookfield will own about 30% of General Growth and have the right to nominate three directors.

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Walmart opens Latin America division HQ in South Florida

BY CSA STAFF

MIAMI Walmart announced that it has opened new headquarters in South Florida for its Latin America regional operations and also introduced the new regional president and chief executive officer, Eduardo Solorzano.

“We’re very enthused about having our new Latin America regional headquarters here in Miami, which some describe as a gateway to Latin America,” Solorzano said, speaking to reporters at his first press conference in his new role. “The opening of this new regional office reflects a renewed level of service and support Walmart Latinoamerica is ready to provide, to our markets, to our associates, to our stores, and to the people in countries throughout Latin America, whether we have stores in those countries yet or not.”

Solorzano assumed his new role Jan. 18, having led Wal-Mart de Mexico since early 2005, where he oversaw dramatic expansion of the business in terms of units, associates, sales and share value. With that company’s recent acquisition of Walmart’s operations in Central America, he was been instrumental in expanding the company beyond Mexico. In addition, Solorzano was responsible for the conception and creation of Banco Walmart, the world’s first Walmart bank, and the development of successful new formats such as Bodega Aurrera Express.

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Sperber to head partnerships, licensing at Universal Studios

BY CSA STAFF

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. Stephanie Sperber has been named president Universal Partnerships and Licensing (UP&L) for Universal Studios.

Sperber has led UP&L as EVP since its creation in 2009 joining the studio’s retail focused consumer products group with the division known as Universal Studios Partnerships (USP). Prior to that, she led Universal Studios Partnerships as EVP since 2005.

Before joining Universal, Sperber was executive director of marketing at Turner Broadcasting, overseeing the brand marketing for Hanna-Barbera Productions.

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