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The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world in lots of ways. We don’t fly, eat out, go shopping without masks, get within six feet of those we do not live with. It has also changed a lot of minds, specifically minds previously set on merging with or buying something, especially in the retail and service spaces. And so, Texas’ second-largest bank by assets will not come to be. Stop & Shop will not be buying King Kullen, Sycamore will not be buying Victoria’s Secret, Dan Loeb hopes to not buy Global Blue.

Arguably no one has better cause for second thoughts than Simon Property Group, the largest mall operator in the U.S. After all, retail has been hit harder than just about any sector, and malls were already not doing so well before they all had to close. Under the circumstances, it would rather not spend $3.6 billion on fellow mall owner and dire-straits resident Taubman Centers, and said as much.

Well, others may feel that amidst a global pandemic, there is no recourse other than a weary shrug of the shoulders. Not so Taubman: It so desperately wants to cease to exist it would like a court, which is reopening anyway, to force Simon to buy it, coronavirus or no, under the venerated legal precedent of no takebacks.

“This is a classic case of buyer’s remorse,” Taubman said in a court filing Wednesday, in response to Simon’s lawsuit to break the deal. Taubman has asked for an expedited hearing to prevent Simon’s attempt to “run out the clock” on the transaction, which would cause “irreparable harm” to its shareholders…. The agreement was signed on Feb. 9, when Simon knew “full well that there was a pandemic raging in the world,” Taubman said….

Taubman would require a speedy hearing, given that the deal is scheduled to close on June 30 following shareholder approval at a special meeting of Taubman’s shareholders set on June 25.

Taubman Centers Fights Back, Aims to Close Deal With Simon Property [WSJ]


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