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Loeb Targets Mall Owner Macerich

Dan Loeb's Third Point LLC has accumulated shares in mall owner Macerich Co. (MAC - Get Report) and is expected to agitate for change and a possible sale, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The New York-based activist nearly has a 5% stake in the Real Estate Investment Trust, a person familiar with the situation said. Loeb and other activists often press companies to sell themselves. As a result, it is possible that Third Point could push Macerich to consider auctioning off the business.

Macerich's shares spiked up 9% to $63.09 a share in afternoon trading on the news.

Loeb is not the first activist to target Macerich. Faced with an unsolicited $16.8 billion offer from Simon Property in 2015, Macerich's board unilaterally decided to stagger its director elections over three years. After rejecting the Simon Properties offer, two activists, Land and Buildings and now-defunct Orange Capital, launched a proxy battle in 2016 to install four dissidents in an insurgency that was ultimately settled when the REIT agreed to add two independent directors to its 10-person board. It also agreed to de-stagger its director elections and remove an anti-takeover poison pill.

According to Macerich's 2017 proxy statement, all the REIT's ten directors came up for election in 2017. Loeb is no stranger to director battles to drive his activist agenda. According to FactSet, Third Point has launched 62 campaigns at 59 companies since launching in 1997. Loeb's fund has engaged in seven proxy fights and written 25 publicly-disclosed letters to boards and management teams, FactSet said.

If Loeb wanted to seek to install a dissident slate of directors at Macerich's 2018 annual meeting, likely in June, he would need to do it by April 2.

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