Ackman Loses Around $410M On J.C. Penney

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Bill Ackman has sold his entire stake in J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) to Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) for $500 million according to a filing with the SEC today. The hedge fund manager announced on Monday that he had sold his entire stake in the company after a failed activist campaign at the retailer. Until this filing it was unclear how much Ackman had sold the stake for.

Ackman Loses Around $410M On J.C. Penney

According to the filing, Ackman sold the shares to the bank at $12.60 per share. Ackman held 39,075,771 shares in the company, or close to 18%. The total price of the deal was $492,354,715. On this morning’s market shares in the company were opened at $13.25, but fell by more than 3% in today’s trading to close at $12.76.

Activist disaster at J.C. Penney

Bill Ackman lost close to half of his investment in J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) over the three years he had shares in the company. According to regulatory filings, Ackman spent about $903 million on his position in the company. The total loss amounts to $410 million, or around 45% of the original investment in the company.

Ackman’s failure at reforming J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) is well documented, and the investor himself has recognized his failure in the venture. According to an investor. A letter to investors in his hedge fund Pershing Square put the investment in the failure column just over one week ago.

Hedge fund interest remains high

Despite the departure of Ackman, there are still some major hedge funds involved at J.C. Penney Company (NYSE:JCP), though many of them bought in at a much lower price, or are staying away from stock in the company altogether. Kyle Bass is invested in the company’s debt according to most recent reports. That bet means he’s insulated from the declines in the company stock, but still betting on its survival.

Ackman tried to take a moderately valuable J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) that was losing business and transform it into  completely different company. Ackman envisioned a luxury retailer under the J.C. Penney brand name and brought in the former Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) retail boss Ron Johnson to do it.

That particular strategy failed, but it isn’t the same as the one being followed by more recent investors like George Soros. Soros is just looking for the company to get back to where it was a few years ago. If the stock price gets back to where it was when Ackman started his campaign he, and other investors, could sell the stock happily.

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