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Deal with mall operators could save JC Penney: reports

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Sep 10, 2020 - 11:09 AM

WASHINGTON — American department store J.C. Penney may have found a lifeline out of bankruptcy after reaching a deal with mall operators Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners, US media reported Wednesday.

The potential transaction could save some 70,000 jobs and 650 stores, CNBC reported, quoting statements from an attorney representing Penney at a US bankruptcy hearing.

Under the deal, reached after tense weeks of negotiation, Simon and Brookfield would pay $300 million and assume $500 million in debt, the network reported.

“We’ve had a few screaming matches, including earlier today, but we got there,” Joshua Sussberg of the law firm Kirkland & Ellis said during the hearing, according to the reports.

The transaction still needs to be approved by a bankruptcy judge and additional bids could be evaluated, according to the reports.

Founded in 1902 in Wyoming and currently based in Texas, JC Penney filed for bankruptcy protection in May, joining a large number of brick-and-mortar retailers to seek to reorganize.

The department store chain had been slumping long before the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close stores, and has not been profitable since 2011.

It reported sales of $10.7 billion in 2019, a decrease of more than $7 billion in 10 years.

Other US department stores that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection have included Nieman Marcus and Lord & Taylor, which plans to liquidate.

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