Simon pays $945,000 to settle N.Y. antitrust probe

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New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has reached an antitrust settlement with Simon Property Group that requires the Indianapolis-based real estate giant to pay $945,000 and revise lease terms of tenants at its popular Woodbury Common Premium Outlets.

At issue were lease provisions that prevented tenants from opening a second store within a 60-mile radius of Woodbury Common without paying a substantial penalty, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

“No business should be allowed to stifle an entire industry at the expense of consumers — but for years, that's exactly what Simon Property Group did to New Yorkers,” Schneiderman said in a prepared statement.

In a statement, Simon Property Group said it “has never sought to limit competition.” It called the two-year-old investigation “meritless” but said it agreed to settle because the matter had become an unnecessary distraction.

Simon, the nation’s largest shopping center owner, acquired Woodbury Common as part of its $3.5 billion purchase of New Jersey-based Chelsea Property Group in 2004. The Indianapolis company said the lease language at issue had been used in Woodbury Common leases since its opening in 1985.

Woodbury Common, about 40 miles north of Manhattan, is one of the nation’s top outlet malls. It rings up more than $1.3 billion in annual sales and boasts a long list of upscale tenants, including Burberry, Coach and Michael Kors.

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