Simon Property Group Inc.
(SPG), the largest publicly traded retail real estate company in North America, recently announced the death of its pioneer and co-founder Melvin Simon after a short illness. With his demise, the company lost an able leader who had remarkable deal-making skills that fostered strong ties with lenders as well as owners of department store chains – a critical element during recession.  
Melvin Simon along with his brother started the real estate company in 1960 under the name – Melvin Simon & Associates. Later this company became Simon Property Group Inc. having embraced the real estate investment trust (REIT) structure. The company’s initial offering in 1993 was the largest for a REIT.
Besides being the founder of Simon, Melvin Simon was also involved in the sports and movie businesses. He was the co-owner of Indiana Pacers professional basketball team in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and was a producer of the hit film “Porky’s”.
Melvin Simon had stepped down as the Chairman of the company two years ago and was succeeded by his son David. The Simon family is one of the major shareholders of the company, with approximately 40 million shares or about 12% of the total shares. 
The company owns, manages, leases, acquires, and develops a diverse portfolio of regional malls, premium outlet centers, and community/lifestyle centers across the globe. By the end of the second quarter, the company owned or had interests in 385 properties spanning 262 million square feet of gross leaseable space in North America, Europe, and Asia. The international presence of the company gives it a more compelling long-term growth story than its domestically focused peers.
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