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Activist Investor Joins Chorus Calling for Macy’s to Spin Off Real Estate


Activist investor Starboard Value LP announced on Wednesday that it had acquired a stake in Macy’s and is pushing the retailer to spin off its real estate holdings. Starboard chief executive Jeff Smith valued the real estate at $21B and believes the company could separate its holdings in strong-performing malls and enter into lucrative sale-leaseback transactions with its trophy properties. Smith declined to reveal how much of a stake Starboard has taken. And while he hopes Macy’s management is willing to work with him, Starboard is prepared for a fight, according to the Wall Street Journal. Starboard succeeded with a similar move last year at restaurant operator Darden Restaurants Inc, removing the entire board in a shareholder vote that resulted in Smith becoming chairman. Macy’s has received pressure from other investors to find ways to extract value from its real estate holdings, which span more than 800 stores the company either owns or leases across the US. [WSJ]