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Mall giant Simon Property Group to acquire owner of Tampa’s International Plaza

The mall groups had been fighting in court over the once $3.6 billion deal in court.

Two of the country’s leading mall owners with properties in Tampa Bay are moving forward with merger plans.

Simon Property Group, the owner of Tyrone Square Mall, and Taubman Centers Inc., owner of International Plaza, announced a “definitive agreement” Sunday. Simon will acquire Taubman in a new deal that lowers the once $3.6 billion price tag by about $800 million.

Plans to merge the businesses stalled over the summer as the companies went to court over the deal, which soured following the coronavirus outbreak.

Related: Simon calls off Taubman deal, leaving Tampa mall with its current owners

The new agreement calls for a modified purchase price of $43 per share. The original agreement, which was made before the pandemic shuttered malls, was about $10 more per share.

Simon will acquire 80 percent of Taubman’s shares. The Taubman family will become a partner with 20 percent of the shares.

Both mall’s boards of directors have approved the deal. The merger is expected to close in late 2020 or early 2021, after it is approved by Taubman’s shareholders.

The adjustment to the deal settles the court dispute.

In June, Simon tried to call off the multi-billion-dollar merger. Simon argued Taubman not only took a bigger hit to its business than other shopping centers because of the pandemic, but also breached an agreement on how it would respond to COVID-19.

Simon is the country’s largest mall owner. Taubman owns 26 properties, mostly luxury focused enclosed malls similar to International Plaza. Taubman’s stock prices began the year at just $28 per share and fluctuated throughout the onset of the pandemic. On Monday, its prices per share were up about 8 percent from closing on Friday, at $42.73.

Simon’s share prices had dropped by more than half at the beginning of the pandemic, after starting the year around $140 per share. The company’s prices were up nearly 8 percent Monday morning at $80.63 per share.

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