updated 2/23/2010 9:48:26 AM ET 2010-02-23T14:48:26

The Wall Street Journal reports Canadian property manager Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is preparing to bid for a large slice of U.S. mall owner General Growth Properties Inc. in an effort to top an unsolicited offer by rival Simon Property Group Inc.

The Journal reported in Tuesday's editions that a Brookfield bid would allow General Growth to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with Brookfield as its largest shareholder.

The report cites unidentified people familiar with the matter and says the bid could come as early as this week.

Simon, the largest U.S. shopping mall owner, made a $10 billion hostile bid for General Growth last week.

General Growth filed for bankruptcy last year after buckling under billions in debt it racked up during a massive expansion.

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