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Ackman Giving Up on Retail?


Updated on August 22, at 4:30 p.m.

Having to resign from J.C. Penney's board of directors must have been a humbling experience for Bill Ackman. The Chicago Tribune reports that in his latest letter to shareholders, the hedge fund investor acknowledges that all three of his major forays into retail--with Target, Borders and J.C. Penney--have been failures.

Ackman indicated he might sell his shares in J.C. Penney, noting:

"Clearly retail has not been our strong suit, and this is duly noted," Ackman wrote in a 23-page long, second-quarter letter to investors, dated August 20 and seen by Reuters.

Update: For its part, J.C. Penney's management appears sick of having to deal with willful investors as well. The retailer adapted a poison pill plan today, to prevent any individual or entity from owning more than 10 percent of its shares, according to Bloomberg. According to a quote from the Bloomberg report:

“The obvious reason is to avert any future situations as arose with Ackman and Vornado,” Bernard Sosnick, an analyst with Gilford Securities in New York, said in a telephone interview. “It was a horrible situation and it puts an end to that.”   

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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