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Simon Has Faith in Britain

While Simon Property Group struggles to fill vacancies in its malls in the U.S., it may be looking to Britain to boost its retail property portfolio.

On Tuesday, U.S. real estate investor Simon Property Group (nyse: SPG - news - people ) upped its stake in U.K. mall operator Liberty International to 4.22%, after raising its stake to 3.45% on Friday, a sign some think may mean it is preparing to bid for the entire firm.

But Simon may have some competition. Australia's Westfield Group also announced on Tuesday that it increased its stake in Liberty to 2.96%. Westfield built up its stake, which now totals $41.9 million, between June and July.

Liberty shares jumped 5.3% to 995 pounds and 50 pence on Tuesday afternoon, after falling 13.1% in the last year as investors feared consumer spending in Britain would hurt business. Liberty owns retail assets throughout Britain including London's Covent Garden.

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