Hedge Fund Chief Dumps JCPenney for $490M Loss

Ackman backed policies that led to huge drop in sales
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2013 1:35 AM CDT
Hedge Fund Chief Dumps JCPenney for $490M Loss
Sales at JCPenny plunged after Ron Johnson, Ackman's chosen CEO, brought in new policies including an end to sales.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

After buying a huge stake in JCPenney and backing a disastrous revamp that has left the chain floundering, Bill Ackman has decided he's done with the company. The Pershing Square hedge fund Ackman runs has announced its intention to unload its 18% stake in the company at a price that's about half what it paid a few years ago, a move that will cost the fund around $490 million, USA Today reports. Ackman quit the JCPenney board earlier this month after a conflict with other directors.

Ackman—whose fund was the retailer's biggest shareholder—has made bad bets in the retail industry before, with investments in Target and Borders both souring, the Wall Street Journal notes. "Clearly, retail has not been our strong suit, and this is duly noted," he admitted in a letter to Pershing Square investors last week. Unlike thousands of people who worked at JCPenney before the policies he championed sent sales plunging, however, Ackman still has a job. (More Bill Ackman stories.)

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