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Simon Property Group, Inc. (SPG - Analyst Report) disclosed the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Mark Ordan – of the unit that it decided to spin-off. This unit, which is named Washington Prime Group, Inc., will operate as an independent, publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) and include the entire strip center business and smaller enclosed malls of Simon Property. Shares moved up $1.02 in past two days following the announcement this CEO appointment.

Washington Prime Group will initially own or have stake in 98 diversified retail real estate properties – 54 strip centers and 44 malls. This company is expected greatly benefit from the Mark Ordan’s expertise in the real estate sector. He has been instrumental in some key retail and healthcare REIT deals.

Prior to joining Washington Prime Group, Mark Ordan was the CEO of Sunrise Senior Living, which was sold off to Health Care REIT, Inc. (HCN - Analyst Report) and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR - Snapshot Report). Earlier, he served as the CEO at The Mills Corporation and guided its sale to Simon Property and Farallon Capital Management. Ordan also founded and presided as the CEO of Fresh Fields that was bought by Whole Foods Market, Inc. (WFM - Analyst Report).

As a matter of fact, Simon Property decided to spin-off this unit in order to increase its focus on the larger retail properties, namely malls, mills and premium outlets. Form 10 has already been filed in December and the company anticipated the transaction to be effective in the second quarter of 2014.

Keeping its winning streak alive, the company also came up with a solid operating performance during fourth-quarter 2013, with funds from operations (FFO) of $2.47 per share, 4 cents ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate and 18 cents above the year-ago quarter figure. The improvement was primarily driven by an increase in revenues and occupancy rate. The company also hiked its quarterly dividend payout by 4.17%.

Simon Property currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Note: FFO, a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs, are obtained after adding depreciation and amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.

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