Judge Orders Simon, Taubman to be Trial-Ready by Mid-November

by Alex Tostado

Oakland County, Mich. — The dispute between Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG) and Taubman Centers Inc. (NYSE: TCO) over a planned merger will move to a mediation phase. James Alexander, a circuit court judge with the state of Michigan, has ordered that the mediation phase be completed by July 31 and that the companies must be ready for a trial by mid-November.

On Thursday, Taubman shareholders voted to approve and adopt the previously announced merger agreement dated Feb. 9 and says the company is “ready, willing and able to close the transactions with Simon.” As previously announced, Simon delivered a notice purporting to terminate the merger agreement, which was valued at $3.6 billion, on June 10. The mall owner also commenced a lawsuit in Michigan state court on the grounds that Taubman hadn’t responded effectively to the coronavirus pandemic.

Taubman says it continues to believe that Simon’s termination is “invalid and without merit.” On June 17, Taubman filed a counterclaim in the lawsuit, rejecting Simon’s allegations. Given the pending litigation, “it appears Simon will not consummate the transactions on June 30, despite its contractual obligation to do so,” according to a statement from Taubman.

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