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General Growth pursuing JVs on several assets

ispursuing the sale of joint venture interests in some of its malls, executives saidduring the company's first-quarter earningscall.

Proceedsfrom such transactions will primarily be used to pay down debt, though which loansexactly will be repaid has yet to be determined. CEO Sandeep Mathrani explainedthat in addition to helping strengthen the balance sheet, the strategy also aimsto take advantage of the more favorable private-market pricing for assets todayand reduce concentration in tourist markets, where the assets in question are located.

CFO MichaelBerman said he was not yet comfortable discussing the potential price tag associatedwith the joint ventures, as the discussions are still preliminary. General Growthis not looking to sell to just one joint venture entity.

In addition,the company closed on the sale of four properties during the first quarter, , , and . Also, it acquiredthe remaining interest in SpokaneValley Mall.

The companyis under contract for the sale of 1Stockton St. in San Francisco for over $100 million and the office componentof 685 Fifth Ave.for $150 million. It plans to continue to cull lower-quality and lower-growth assetsover the coming five years.