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JCPenney Lenders May Make Acquisition Bid After Other Talks Falter

JCPenney’s top lenders, including H/2 Capital Partners, are preparing to make a credit bid to own the retailer as a standalone company, according to CNBC. Joshua Sussberg, an attorney with Kirkland & Ellis who is representing JCPenney in bankruptcy court, said the companies have until Sept. 10 to reach an agreement, with the goal of completing the transaction within 30 days.

The reported bid comes after talks with three other potential buyers reached a “stalemate,” according to Sussberg. JCPenney is in danger of liquidation if it can’t find a new owner, and the company already expects to close additional stores regardless of whether its creditors can make a sufficient offer due to the delays.

“Our lenders are no longer going to be held hostage in negotiations with third parties,” said Sussberg during the hearing. “While it is possible that one of the bidders comes back into the transaction, we can no longer stand idly by and allow for negotiating postures to stand in the way of 70,000 jobs and our vendor base.” The three other potential buyers that have stalled out are reportedly Sycamore Partners, the joint venture of Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners, and Hudson’s Bay Co., a person familiar with the matter told CNBC. Simon recently acquired other retail tenants in danger of liquidation, including Brooks Brothers and Lucky Brand, in partnership with Authentic Brands Group.

JCPenney filed for bankruptcy in May and identified 192 stores that would close in 2020, with an additional 50 slated for 2021. The retailer also laid off 1,000 workers in corporate and field management and international positions in July.

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