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Bankrupt Mall Owner Reaches $1.6B Restructuring Deal

CBL Properties, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, has inked a restructuring agreement with most of its creditors that will eliminate about $1.6B in debt and other obligations for the Tennessee-based mall owner.

The coronavirus has forced the closure of many retailers.

Bank lenders representing more than 88% of the company's secured credit facility agreed to the deal, as did noteholders with more than 64% of unsecured notes, according to CBL. The agreement still needs to be approved by the bankruptcy court.

Under the terms of the agreement, control of the company will belong to its creditors, who will receive 89% in common equity of the newly reorganized CBL. They will also receive $95M in cash and $555M of new senior secured notes.

"Reaching a fully consensual plan between our credit facility lenders and noteholders has been a primary goal throughout this process," CBL CEO Stephen Lebovitz said in a statement. "The plan we are announcing today achieves all of the major objectives we have set for CBL post-emergence."

CBL owns or manages 105 properties totaling 64.6M SF, including enclosed malls as well as open-air shopping centers. As many of its tenants closed locations or delayed paying rent last year with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the company's position became increasingly untenable.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last summer, the company expressed doubt about its future viability, citing the damage done by the pandemic. 

Although reported Covid cases have decreased nationwide for the past nine weeks, mall owners aren't out of the woods, as other forces continue to put pressure on retail. Last year, 8,741 stores closed, according to Coresight Research. The company predicts that another 10,000 stores will close this year, representing an estimated 138.5M SF of retail space vacated.