FTC Checks Out Simon's Deal with Prime; Naming Rights at Malls (Weekend Roundup)

Things have died down a tad on the General Growth front. I suspect this is merely the calm before the storm as the parties wait to see what happens at the March 3 hearing. There we'll find out if General Growth's exclusivity period will be extended or not.

In the mean time, here are some other news and notes from around the retail real estate world.

  • The Federal Trade Commission is checking out Simon. But it's not over the General Growth deal. Instead, there is an inquiry as to Simon's strength in the outlet sector in light of its pending acquisition of Prime Outlets. Gap Inc. has been contacted by the Federal Trade Commission in regards to that deal. It's an interesting development because if the FTC is interested in the Prime deal, then it seems likely it would want to review any deal with General Growth as well. One school of thought had been that the FTC would view retail real estate as one asset class. In that case, Simon's concentration of malls would be viewed in the context of the entire shopping center universe rather than how much of the regional mall world it controlled. But this inquiry shows that the FTC may not look at things that way after all.
  • Crain's New York reports that Coca-Cola is considering opening a retail location in New York on a site that formerly housed a World of Disney store.
  • There isn't a long history of mall companies being able to sell naming rights of their properties. But that's not stopping Ashkenazy Acquisitions Corp. from giving that strategy a whirl. The firm has hired Profit Increase Funding Inc. to help it secure naming rights deals for two properties outside Detroit.
  • Lastly, on the lighter side, in Charlottesville, Va., a mass of snow that accumulated in a series of snowstorms in the Mid-Atlantic in recent weeks was plowed into a massive pile at the parking lot of the Barracks Road Shopping Center. Local youth have taken to calling the mount "Mt. Barracks" and even erected a Facebook page in its honor.
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