By Lenore Fedow
lenore.fedow@nationaljeweler.com
JC Penney may soon be acquired by mall owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners.
Plano, Texas—JC Penney may be saved after all.

Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners are finalizing an $800 million deal to buy the department store chain.

The mall owners will pay $300 million in cash and assume $500 million in debt, according to a statement by Joshua Sussberg of the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, which is representing JC Penney.

The move would allow the retailer to avoid liquidation, said Sussberg.

The deal would keep 650 of its 850 locations open and save 70,000 of its 85,000 jobs.

“We are in a position to do exactly what we set out to do at the very beginning of these cases, and that is preserve 70,000 jobs, a tenant for landlords, a vendor partner and a company that has been around for more than a century,” he said during a hearing last week.

Licensing company Authentic Brands Group may join in on the plan, according to a Business Insider report.

The company has joined forces with Simon and Brookfield before, acquiring Forever 21 earlier this year and Aeropostale in 2016.

When the deal goes through, creditor Wells Fargo has agreed to give JC Penney $2 billion in revolving credit, leaving it with $1 billion in cash.

The retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May as it struggled with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and its mounting debt.

In exchange for forgiving some of its $5 billion in debt, its lenders, including H/2 Capital Partners, will take ownership of some of its stores and distribution centers.

In June, Sussberg valued JC Penney’s real estate portfolio at $1.4 billion when its stores are operating and $704 million when they’re not.

The retailer will seek approval for the deal in early October and expects to emerge from bankruptcy before the holiday season.





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