Debt-laden mall owner General Growth Properties Inc. won a two-week extension of its deadline to pay a $900m debt, avoiding for the time being what would be one of the largest real-estate bankruptcies in recent U.S. history.

General Growth executives spent the weekend locked in tense negotiations with lenders. The loan had an initial payment deadline Friday, but that passed without an agreement on new terms for the loan. The sides couldn't reach an accord after Citigroup Inc., one of roughly half a dozen lenders in the pact, balked on agreeing to the extension,

Wall Street Journal