Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg said the department-store chain's advisers and some of its bondholders are close to signing non-disclosure agreements that include receipt of confidential company information.
A spokeswoman for Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney declined to comment to Bloomberg on its report.
Bloomberg said J.C. Penney bondholders have been pushing for the company to consider a swap or extension on some of its $4 billion of debt ahead of the maturities, in an effort to avoid the last-minute brinkmanship that contributed to the bankruptcies of retailers like Toys "R" Us.
"A bankruptcy filing isn't currently a focus of the anticipated debt talks," Bloomberg reported, citing its sources.
J.C. Penney shares were up 13 cents, or 16%, to 94 cents on Friday.