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JCPenney Is The Target of Buyout Rumors Again: This Time It's Sycamore, Brookfield And Simon

Even after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, JCPenney Co. remains the subject of buyout rumors.

JCPenney, Westfield Culver City, CA

This time, a news report from Reuters says private equity firm Sycamore Partners has engaged in discussions with the Plano, Texas-based retailer about acquiring it out of bankruptcy should negotiations with creditors fail during the reorganization process.

Citing three unnamed sources, Reuters reports the retailer is discussing buyout options with landlords such as Brookfield Asset Management and Simon Property, with one reported scenario involving all three firms working together to bid for Penney's. 

Claims of a major mall or retail operator like Simon or Brookfield acquiring Penney's are not new. Even prior to the bankruptcy filing in South Texas, retail analyst Walter Loeb predicted mall operators that have relied on Penney's as an anchor tenant may come in and try to buy it. 

“I think they have some very valuable assets, so before they write them off as going to Chapter 11, you have to look at all of the assets the company has,” Loeb told Bisnow in late April. The retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 15. 

News of a potential buyout comes as Penney's right-sizes its brick-and-mortar footprint. The retailer announced a first phase of 154 store closings last week. Penney's said it will close 240 of its 846 stores over the course of the next two years. 

Sycamore, Brookfield and Simon may have some steep competition: Rumor has it Amazon may want the retailer's real estate and could scoop Penney's or its real estate up in a bid to expand its potential retail and logistics footprint.