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2nd Largest U.S. Mall Operator Goes Bust

General Growth Properties Inc., the nation's second-largest mall operator, said early Thursday it had filed for bankruptcy protection after failing to convince its debt holders to give it more time to refinance its crushing debt.

The Chicago-based real estate investment trust said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court. Some 158 regional shopping centers under its control also filed for bankruptcy protection.

General Growth says it received a financing commitment from Pershing Square Capital Management LP of about $375 million and expects it will be able to continue operating its malls as it reorganizes.

The company says it has about $29.6 billion in assets and more than $27 billion in liabilities.

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