Bankruptcy Means Test

General Growth Properties Inc., the second-largest U.S. mall owner, recently won court approval to reorganize $500 million in debt for two shopping centers, adding to its $11.6 billion in property-level debt that has been reorganized in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper approved reorganization plans for Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco and Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Company lawyer Anup Sathy says General Growth is left with six remaining property-level loans worth $2.8 billion which it is preparing to restructure. Property level loans refer to debt that’s held by the unit that owns the property, as opposed to the corporate parent.

The company is also considering Brookfield Asset Management as a possible financial banker for its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization but that investor is hotly contested by some creditors.  Bankruptcy judge Allan Gropper plans to take testimony from creditors who objected to the Brookfield deal and is currently considering whether he will allow the company to have exclusive control over its Chapter 11 bankruptcy for an additional six months. In Chapter 11 bankruptcy, businesses only have a limited time to exclusively offer a bankruptcy reorganization plan and after that time expires, creditors are allowed to offer competing bankruptcy plans. The most recent bankruptcy confirmation in General Growth’s case is the fifth installment of project level reorganizations as General Growth moves towards a Chapter 11 bankruptcy exit in stages.  A total of $11.3 billion or 210 business units of the company have already been closed or have exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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