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The Associated Press August 19, 2010, 7:49PM ET

Judge OKs General Growth's disclosure statement

Mall owner General Growth Properties Inc. said Thursday a bankruptcy judge has approved a disclosure statement the company will use to solicit votes from creditors on its proposed reorganization plan.

The move brings the nation's second-largest shopping mall operator one step closer to exiting from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Chicago-based company filed the largest real estate bankruptcy case in U.S. history in April 2009 under the weight of nearly $28 billion in liabilities.

It has since restructured billions in debt and put together a plan to emerge from bankruptcy and pay off creditors in full.

An investor group comprised of Canadian property manager Brookfield Asset Management Inc., The Fairholme Fund and Pershing Square Capital Management has agreed to provide the capital to finance General Growth's exit from bankruptcy.

"We are now positioned to emerge from bankruptcy as two focused companies with $15 billion of extended maturities and approximately $7 billion of equity capital provided by our new investors," said Adam Metz, General Growth's chief executive.

When it exits protection, shareholders will own stock in two separate companies -- General Growth and the newly formed Spinco, which will manage a diverse group of properties with little debt that have development potential.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Allan Gropper in New York has scheduled a hearing on the confirmation of General Growth's reorganization plan for Oct. 21.

General Growth shares fell 19 cents to $14.13 on Thursday.

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