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Brookfield is said to make over US$14b buyout bid for GGP

[NEW YORK] Brookfield Asset Management has bid more than US$14 billion to acquire the stake it doesn't already own in mall owner GGP , according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Canadian investment firm made an offer of about US$23 per share, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The price represents a premium of around 21 per cent to GGP's closing price Nov 6, the day before Bloomberg News reported Brookfield had held discussions about taking the company private.

In the third quarter, Toronto-based Brookfield's real estate unit exercised all of its outstanding warrants in GGP, bringing its ownership stake to 34 per cent from 29 per cent, the company said in a statement earlier this month. The 68 million shares were purchased for US$462 million.

Brookfield took a stake in GGP as part of an agreement to take the company out of bankruptcy in 2010. It acquired additional GGP warrants in January 2013 and agreed to not increase its stake beyond 45 per cent for the next four years.

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A representative for Brookfield declined to comment.

A spokesman for Chicago-based GGP didn't immediately respond to requests for comment outside regular business hours.

The Wall Street Journal reported the level of the bid earlier, citing unidentified people.  Shares of mall companies have been hit hard as the rise of e-commerce squeezes brick-and-mortar retailers.

Store closures are accelerating, pressuring landlords to fill empty space and reinvent shopping centres.