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Alternative Market Briefing

Bill Ackman gives up on JC Penney

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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Bill Ackman
Precy Dumlao, Opalesque Asia:

Beleaguered activist hedge fund manager William Ackman sold his entire holdings in U.S. retailer J.C. Penney Co Inc., after his effort to overhaul its management failed, Reuters reported.

Ackman's $11bn Pershing Square Capital Management, the largest shareholder in J.C. Penney, sold to 39.1 million shares, equivalent to 18% the firm to Citigroup Inc., which is now offering the shares to prospective investors.

The sale also ended Ackman’s three year campaign to bring the retailer back to profitability by hiring a new chief executive, upgrading its merchandize and simplifying pricing to make the stores more attractive to customers.

But the reorganization did not translate into earnings as store sales plunged 25% in the last fiscal year and J.C. Penney’s share prices fell 32% since January this year. In April, Ackman acknowledged the shortcomings of the chief executive officer he had chosen to turn around the retailer, Ron Johnson. Ackman lost hundreds of millions of dollars in this bet when he bought the shares at $20.01. J.C. Penney’s shares closed at $13 after he announced his sales. J.C. Penney last week said it was instituting a new plan to block takeover bids f......................

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