Vornado ups stake in J.C. Penney

Plano, Texas -- J.C. Penney Co. said Monday in a regulatory filing that it has allowed shopping center owner Vornado Realty Trust to increase its stake in the department store retailer, from 9.9% to 15.4%.

The move eases a poison-pill restriction that had prevented Vornado from previously buying additional J.C. Penney shares. It mirrors a deal struck with Penney’s largest shareholder William Ackman, who received the go-ahead to up his stake, held through his Pershing Square Capital Management hedge fund, from 16.5% to as much as 26.1%.

Vornado holds a seat on J.C. Penney's board, as does Ackman.

J.C. Penney has not said whether Vornado had concrete plans to add to its stake. The retailer said in the filing that Vornado is barred under the agreement from purchasing additional shares until Oct. 10.

The moves come as J.C. Penney is preparing to change chief executives. Effective Nov. 1, Myron "Mike" Ullman will be replaced by Ronald Johnson, the architect of Apple Inc.'s retail stores. Ullman will serve as executive chairman of the chain until Feb. 1.

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