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Inside the rise of real-estate titan David Simon, the country's top mall-owner with a legendary temper facing a make-or-break moment with a $2 billion bet on troubled JCPenney

Inside the rise of real-estate titan David Simon, the country's top mall-owner with a legendary temper facing a make-or-break moment with a $2 billion bet on troubled JCPenney

David Simon, chairman and CEO of the country's biggest mall owner, Simon Property Group
Mireya Acierto/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business Insider




In leading a partnership to buy the bankrupt department store JCPenney, Simon Property Group's chief executive David Simon faces a make-or-break moment whether he can reinvent and restore his multi-billion-dollar mall business.




Simon has for years reached beyond his core business, buying retailers that occupy his company's spaces and branching out into other areas like e-commerce in an effort to embrace change in the industry.




As the mall king relies on more partners and increasingly collaborative relationships with tenants, some observers point to his winner-take-all mentality and legendary temper as potential sticking points.




Business Insider spoke with more than a dozen people who know and have worked with Simon to learn more about the press-shy mogul and his efforts to turn around a moribund retail industry.




Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


A week before a $1.75 billion deal would be announced to buy JCPenney, a rescue of the 118-year-old retailer seemed to be slipping away behind closed doors."We would like to do it, but we're pushing too hard," one of the chief bidders, David Simon, chairman and CEO of the country's biggest mall owner, Simon Property Group, told his friend and business partner, Jamie Salter.Salter is the CEO of Authentic Brands Group, which controls several well-known brands and has teamed up with Simon to buy up bankrupt mall staples including Forever 21 and Brooks Brothers.Whether it was a bluff or genuine retreat, the group of lenders holding $5 billion of debt against the department-store chain capitulated.
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