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J.C. Penney Investor Glenview Joins Hayman Cutting Stake

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J.C. Penney Co. Store
People enter the J.C. Penney Co. store inside the Glendale Galleria shopping center in Glendale, California. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- J.C. Penney Co. investors Glenview Capital Management LLC and Hayman Capital Management LP cut their stakes in the retailer by a combined 13.4 million shares as the stock plunged amid a share offering.

Meanwhile, Highfields Capital Management LP, the activist money-management firm run by Jonathon S. Jacobson, disclosed a new investment of 3.25 million shares, according to a filing for the period ended Sept. 30. That would be a stake of 1.1 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The department-store chain’s list of top investors has been in flux this year as it tries to rebound from the plummeting sales and losses caused by the tenure of former Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson. The most recent changes came as the retailer diluted shareholders by 38 percent in late September after selling 84 million shares in an offering that raised $785 million to fund its attempted turnaround.

J.C. Penney, based in Plano, Texas, rose 4.7 percent to $9.10 at 11:44 a.m. in New York. The shares had declined 56 percent this year through yesterday, including a 29 percent plunge in September. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 26 percent this year through yesterday.

Glenview, which earlier this year was the chain’s largest investor, reduced its holdings by 7.69 million shares to 12.4 million, according to a filing yesterday. That makes the New York-based firm, founded by hedge fund manager Lawrence Robbins, the retailer’s fourth-largest shareholder, with a stake of 4.1 percent.

Hayman, J. Kyle Bass’s Dallas-based hedge fund, cut its stake in half to 5.69 million shares, according to a filing. That makes it J.C. Penney’s 10th-largest investor.

Jana Stake

Jana Partners LLC, the $7 billion New York-based hedge-fund firm run by Barry Rosenstein, also disclosed a new holding of 500,000 shares in J.C. Penney.

Highfields has recently pushed for change at CoreLogic Inc. and Tim Hortons Inc.

Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP exited its stake as the retailer’s largest investor in August. Ackman, who often takes an activist role at the companies he invests in, was instrumental in bringing Johnson to J.C. Penney and then sold after a public spat with the board over the direction of the company under Mike Ullman, who reclaimed the CEO job from Johnson in April.

Since returning, Ullman has strengthened the balance with $3.89 billion from the offering, a loan and drawing down a credit revolver. He also has reversed many of Johnson’s decisions by bringing back private-label brands such as St. John’s Bay, ramping up discounts, returning to an old logo and ending the remodeling strategy.

Vornado Exit

Vornado Realty Trust, which teamed up with Pershing Square in 2010 to invest in J.C. Penney with the goal of improving results, exited later in September, selling its 13 million shares.

J.C. Penney’s same-store sales rose 0.9 percent in October, the first monthly gain in almost two years, fulfilling Ullman’s forecast that revenue by that measure would turn positive coming out of the third quarter.

J.C. Penney will report third-quarter results Nov. 20.

To contact the reporters on this story: Matt Townsend in New York at mtownsend9@bloomberg.net; Chris Burritt in Greensboro at cburritt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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