General Growth Buys Pershing Stake in Brazil’s Aliansce

General Growth Properties Inc., the second-largest U.S. mall owner, agreed to buy Pershing Square Capital Management LP’s 14 percent stake in Brazil’s Aliansce Shopping Centers SA for about $195 million.

The purchase will increase General Growth’s interest in Aliansce to 46 percent, the Chicago-based company said in a statement today. It plans to fund the deal with available cash.

Aliansce, based in Rio de Janeiro, owns interests in 18 malls, three of which are under development, totaling about 6.5 million square feet (604,000 square meters) of leasable space. Sandeep Mathrani, General Growth’s chief executive officer and a member of Aliansce’s board, said on a conference call earlier this month that his company was “committed” to increasing its assets in Brazil, Latin America’s biggest economy.

“The Brazilian landscape is under-retailed and the sales productivity is very high,” he said on the Aug. 2 call. “It’s long term a fantastic market for us to continue to grow.”

The stock purchase from affiliates of Pershing, a New York-based hedge fund run by William Ackman, is equal to 20 reais a share, General Growth said. Aliansce shares closed yesterday at 19.20 reais in Sao Paulo. They have gained 35 percent this year, compared with a 2.3 percent increase in the benchmark Bovespa index.

General Growth is the largest U.S. mall owner after Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. It owns or has an interest in 150 regional shopping malls.

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