Brookfield Property Partners’ $14.6 billion bid for GGP — and speculation about similar mall landlord deals in the future — underscores the faith investors seem to have in good shopping centers and in physical retail in general.
“Two weeks ago everyone hated malls — ‘the mall is dead.’ But now the mall is alive,” Alexander D. Goldfarb, a managing director at investment bank Sandler O’Neill & Partners, told The Wall Street Journal.
Shares of GGP rose to $23.97 on Monday after both parties confirmed the news of the bid. Shares of other A-mall REITs have similarly risen since the beginning of the month, on speculation that they, too, could attract bids.
“Despite the pain their tenants are enduring as consumers lean on e-commerce alternatives, these landlords are prime consolidation candidates because their portfolios are largely comprised of class-A malls, which have the best possible growth prospects and seem most likely to stay relevant,” reads a Bloomberg column. The vast majority of retailing, the column notes, continues to take place in physical stores and at shopping centers.
And shopping centers are no longer relying exclusively on retailers.
“Malls are increasingly plugging vacancies with different kinds of businesses, such as fitness centers and kiddie entertainment parks,” the Bloomberg column observes. “GGP, for one, is well aware of this shift and has been repositioning itself by scaling back deals with struggling apparel chains and signing up more food-and-entertainment tenants.”
By Edmund Mander