Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners are reportedly in advanced talks about buying J.C. Penney’s retail business.
J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy in May and said it would close 242 stores. Simon and Brookfield — two of the retailer’s biggest landlords — are now competing against other bidders to acquire the retail operations, and the Wall Street Journal reports that the pair is out front.
According to the publication, private-equity firm Sycamore Partners offered a higher price, but Simon and Brookfield offered lease concessions that the retailer viewed as more valuable.
If a deal is reached, it would mark the third time this year that Simon has acquired a tenant out of bankruptcy. This week, a venture between the landlord and Authentic Brands Group agreed to buy embattled retailer Brooks Brothers for $325 million. In February, Simon and Brookfield purchased Forever 21 for $81 million.
Like many retailers, J.C. Penney’s path to bankruptcy was accelerated by the pandemic, but the company had been struggling long before. At the end of last year, it was roughly $3.8 billion in debt.
The bankruptcy proceedings are taking place in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi, Texas, and an offer would need the approval of a judge.
J.C. Penney declined to comment when approached by the Journal. Brookfield and Sycamore also declined. Simon did not respond to requests for comment.
[WSJ] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan