NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s biggest mall owner is backing out of a $3.6 billion deal to buy a major rival as the coronavirus pandemic shakes the retail economy.
It is the second major retail deal signed just before the pandemic began to spread in the U.S. that has crumbled. Last month, a deal to sell Victoria’s Secret to a private equity group fell apart.
Simon Property Group said it would buy Taubman Centers in early February, just weeks before the CDC said a California patient was being treated for coronavirus, the first known case in the U.S.
Taubman’s significant proportion of enclosed retail properties located in densely populated major metropolitan areas, dependence on both domestic and international tourism at many of its properties, and its focus on high-end shopping have combined to impact Taubman’s business disproportionately due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Simon said in a prepared statement Wednesday.
Simon owns or has a stake in 204 properties in the U.S. as of last year. Taubman Realty owns, manages or leases 26 shopping centers in the U.S. and Asia, including The Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey, and Waterside Shops in Naples, Florida.