Paul Sakuma, File, Associated Press
In this Feb. 16, 2010 file photo, a woman and a young girl stand at a fountain at the Stanford Shopping Center, a Simon Property Group property, in Palo Alto, Calif. Simon Property Group on Monday, March 9, 2015 said it is launching a hostile bid worth about $16 billion for Macerich Co., after saying the rival mall operator refused to discuss a combination.

INDIANAPOLIS — Simon Property Group has launched a hostile bid worth about $16 billion for Macerich Co. after saying the rival mall operator refused to discuss a combination. A deal would combine two of the largest mall operators in the United States.

Simon said Monday that it was offering $91 per share in cash and stock for each share of Macerich. It said that represents a premium of 30 percent to the closing price of the mall operator's shares on Nov. 18, before Simon disclosed that it had accumulated a nearly 4 percent stake in Macerich.

The offer is valued at about $22.4 billion, counting Macerich's debt.

Indianapolis-based Simon said it is confident that Macerich shareholders will accept its proposal.

Representatives of Santa Monica, California-based Macerich did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Simon said the addition of Macerich would amount to a "strong strategic and geographic fit."

The mall operator said it was taking its bid to shareholders after Macerich refused to discuss an acquisition. Chairman and CEO David Simon told his Macerich counterpart, Arthur M. Coppola, in a letter dated Monday that it has been more than a week since the two sides discussed Simon's interest, and he was disappointed that Coppola has not responded to him "as you said you would."

Simon called the offer "very compelling."

"We have completed nearly $40 billion of acquisitions in a variety of complex transactions during our 21 years as a public company and we see no legal or other impediment to completing our purchase of Macerich," he wrote to Coppola.

Simon is a real estate investment trust, or REIT, that operates more than 200 properties in the United States, with a heavy presence in Florida, Texas and California, among other states. It also runs shopping centers in Canada, Japan, Mexico and other countries.

Macerich has 51 shopping centers in its portfolio, including locations in Chicago, the metro New York area and Washington, D.C.

Simon expects the deal would provide an immediate lift for its funds from operations, a key measure of operating performance for REITs.

Shares of Macerich jumped 5.7 percent, or $4.96, to $91.68 in Monday morning trading. Meanwhile, Simon Property Group Inc. rose 25 cents to $180.83, as broader markets rose slightly.