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Ackman’s J.C. Penney Losses Signal Buyout Need: Real M&A

Bill Ackman’s best shot at salvaging his investment in J.C. Penney Co. is to push the department store to go private before it runs out of cash and loses another billion dollars for shareholders.

In the 2 1/2 years since hedge-fund manager Ackman became the largest shareholder, J.C. Penney has fallen 48 percent, handing Ackman losses. The retailer is now trading at a 72 percent discount to its $13 billion in annual revenue, the second-cheapest among U.S. department-store chains, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.