Blackstone Group, the world’s largest private-equity firm, may join Simon Property Group’s bid to buy bankrupt General Growth Properties, two people with knowledge of the discussions said yesterday.

Blackstone is in preliminary talks with Simon, the biggest US mall owner, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. Simon, which made a $10bn takeover offer for General Growth public 16 Feb, would lead any resulting partnership, one of the people said.