By  on August 21, 2011

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. is allowing activist investor William Ackman to get a bit closer, giving him the OK to take on a “synthetic long position” that could boost his stake in the retailer to up to 26.1 percent.

Last year, Penney’s adopted a poison pill shareholder plan designed to fend off Ackman, who through his Pershing Square Capital Management acquired beneficial ownership of more than 39 million shares of the retailer, giving him a 16.5 percent stake. The poison pill plan was amended Friday so it would not be triggered if Ackman increased his stake as specified.

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