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Simon Withdraws Hostile Taubman Takeover Bid

The Taubman family--once considered the underdogs in the battle for control of their coveted collection of trophy malls--are undoubtedly uncorking a bottle of bubbly to celebrate their victory in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., this evening. After almost a year of battling, it only took a day for Simon Property Group and Westfield America to decide to terminate their hostile takeover bid for rival REIT Taubman Centers. But the Taubman board of directors is now in the hot seat, analysts say. The board will be under great pressure to keep the company's stock price up to justify its rejection of Simon and Westfield's advances.

On Tuesday, the state of Michigan passed a law re-instating the family's right to vote its 33.6 percent stock block to veto the proposed Westfield/Simon takeover. Earlier today, Simon and Westfield put out a press release announcing the termination of their offer for Taubman Centers. "Because this block of stock is enough to obstruct any acquisition, Simon had little chance to succeed other than through a lengthy proxy battle, having its representatives elected to Taubman's board," says Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. analyst John Roberts. "Obviously, they did not have the stomach for such a long and drawn-out process, especially with Taubman shares now trading above Simon's offer price." Simon and Westfield offered $20 per share, Taubman Centers stock is currently trading at $20.20.

Though Simon is pulling out, the Indianapolis-based behemoth will still be keeping an eye on Taubman Centers. "At the least possible misstep, they could once again move in for a possible takeover," Roberts says. "Simon could have a large group of Taubman shareholders willing and ready to tender again if Taubman Centers' share price falters."

Roberts estimates Simon spent as much as $12 million on the failed takeover attempt.

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