Glenview Capital Boosts Stake In JC Penney, Becomes 2nd Largest Shareholder

Glenview Capital Management, the hedge fund headed by Larry Robbins increased its stockholding in JC Penney Company (NYSE:JCP) based on its latest 13G filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The hedge fund currently owns 20,060, 830 shares or 9.1% stake in the embattled, century old department store chain.

The hedge fund held 8,431,879 shares of JC Penney in second quarter of this year. After boosting its stake in the department store chain by nearly 138%, Glenview Capital is now the second largest shareholder of the company.

Soros  Fund Management, the investment management firm headed by legendary investors George Soros owns 19,986,361 shares or 9.07% stake in JC Penney, and it also holds 500,000 shares (call options), thus its stake is still bigger than Glenview Capital.

Last month, Glenview Capital and Soros Fund stated their intention to support JC Penney’s current CEO Mike Ullman and Chairman Tom Engibous in their fight against Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management, previously the largest shareholder with nearly 18% stake in the company. Ackman expressed disappointment the management of the company and demanded to accelerate its search for a new CEO to replace Ullman as well as the ouster of Engibous. The board of JC Penney rejected his demands and called his actions disruptive.

Ackman resigned as director of the board of JC Penney and sold its entire stake (39.1 million shares) in the company at $12.90 per share. Pershing started building up its position in the department store chain three years ago, and acquired its stake at an average price of $25 per share. Given its average acquisition price for the stock, we can easily calculate that Ackman’s hedge fund lost almost 50% of its entire investment in JC Penney.

JC Penney  gained the confidence of other hedge fund managers even if Ackman exited his position in the company. Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital Management purchased 11,428, 450 shares or 5.2% stake  in the company.

According to Bass, JC Penney has “requisite tools to execute a classic retail turnaround – sufficient liquidity, strong brand recognition, well positioned real estate and reinvigorated team members.” He emphasized that Ullman once successfully restored the company with a sound operational and financial footing. He added, “We are confident the board of directors will be able to attract a highly qualified CEO to lead JC Penney towards becoming America’s favorite stores once again.”

Richard Perry’s hedge fund, Perry Capital also acquired additional 3 million shares in JC Penney bringing its stockholding in the company to 8.6% stake. The latest bullish move of the investors indicates that they can make profits now that Ackman is out.