Private equity firm Sycamore Partners is leading a bidding war to acquire bankrupt J.C. Penney Company, the New York Post reported Monday.
The New York-based firm has made an offer of $1.75 billion to the veteran retailer, according to the Post. It has also proposed a merger of JCPenney with Belks, another seasoned retailer it had purchased in 2015, as part of the acquisition deal.
“[JCPenney] is the lifeboat for Belks, which wants to compete with Macy’s nationally,” a person familiar with the matter told the Post.
Other competing bidders include Canadian Hudson’s Bay Company with a $1.7 billion offer, and mall owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners, who have made a joint offer of $1.65 billion.
One of the Post sources said all bidders were informed that Sycamore and Belks “submitted the strongest bid to acquire JCP,” while another added that all bidders remain in the mix.
JCPenney had filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May, as the COVID-19 pandemic lent a major blow to an already struggling retailer.
Reuters reported in early June that Sycamore was holding preliminary talks with the departmental store chain to acquire it out of bankruptcy.
Amazon was also rumored to be considering acquiring JCPenney, along with Forever 21-owner Authentic Brands.
Sycamore’s interest in JCPenney comes after it earlier backed out of a deal to buy a 55% stake in L Brands subsidiary Victoria’s Secret, claiming the lingerie company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic breached their contract.
JCPenney shares closed 2.4% lower at $0.26 on Monday.
This story originally appeared on Benzinga.
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