Mall Operator Files For Bankruptcy Protection

The nation's second-largest mall operator has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. General Growth Properties was forced to file after it failed to persuade a majority of its debt holders to give it more time to refinance billions of dollars in debt racked up during the housing boom.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's business news starts with the end of a shopping spree.

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INSKEEP: The company's name said it all: General Growth. It became a real estate colossus by snapping up mall properties around the country, 200 of them in more than 44 states. Lots of growth. To do this, the Chicago-based company loaded itself up with $27 billion in debt. Now that the door to easy financing has closed, General Growth has filed for bankruptcy protection today under Chapter 11. This may not mean mall closures, but the company may have to sell off properties and could emerge a much smaller retail empire.

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