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Richard Perry is growing keener on the ailing J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and spent $38.7 million to buy another 3 million shares Friday.
The shares ultimately came from the stake of activist William Ackman, who liquidated his 39.1 million shares of the company through an offering managed by Citigroup.
Perry bought the stock at $12.90 and now owns 19 million shares of Penney’s, or about 8.6 percent of the company, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The investor, who is chairman of Barneys New York and designer Lisa Perry’s husband, is known for betting on distressed companies and began building his Penney’s stake in July.
Perry took Ackman’s side as the activist, who was then a Penney’s board member, clashed with the firm’s other directors and tried to replace Myron “Mike” Ullman 3rd as chief executive officer.
“Shareholders and creditors have increasingly lost confidence in the company, as evidenced by the recent significant decline in the company’s stock and bond prices,” wrote Perry in an open letter to the board. “This market reaction is particularly alarming given the company’s meaningful improvement in liquidity following its $2.25 billion term loan financing. We strongly urge the board to take immediate and proactive steps to improve the financial and operational management of the company.”
Perry approved of a plan that was being speculated about at the time, which could have seen the return of former Penney’s chief Allen Questrom and possibly Footlocker chief Ken Hicks, who had been president and chief merchandising officer at the department store.
Shares of Penney’s closed up 0.7 percent to $12.48 in open trading on Wall Street Friday.