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Mills to Accept Simon's $1.6 Billion Offer, Spurning Brookfield

Mall developer Mills said Tuesday that it now plans to accept a $1.6 billion takeover bid by Simon Property Group and the hedge fund Farallon Capital Management, spurning a lower offer from Canadian company Brookfield Asset Management that Mills agreed to last month.

Mills, based in Chevy Chase, Md., said the Simon-Farallon offer at $24 per share constituted a "superior competing transaction" to Brookfield's proposed $21-per-share deal that was valued at $1.35 billion.

A Brookfield representative could not be immediately reached.

However, Mills said in a statement that it will give Brookfield three days to top its previous offer before it breaks the original agreement, signed Jan. 17. The company said it "is ready and willing to negotiate such an amendment" with Brookfield.

Along with the higher price, Mills said its board of directors was drawn by the Simon-Farallon deal because it could be closed more quickly than the Brookfield proposal.

The troubled Mills spent last year shedding assets and replacing top executives in preparation for a sale.

The developer of megamalls is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for its accounting practices, which Mills said in January were widespread. Mills plans to restate earnings as far back as 2001 because of the mistakes.