J.C. Penney, Ackman Enter Agreement To Sell Stake

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It looks like Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management is getting ready to dump some or all of its stake in J.C. Penney ( JCP).

J. C. Penney disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday that it entered into a Registration Rights Agreement with Pershing Square and its affiliates.

As part of the agreement, Pershing Square may make up to four requests to the company to register the sale of the J.C. Penney's common stock. The agreement terminates when Pershing Square owns less than 5% of the company's common stock.

Ackman is J.C. Penney's largest shareholder with a 17.7% stake, worth about $539 million. George Soros and Soros Fund Management owns the second largest stake in J.C. Penney by holding 9% of shares.

Also see: Jos. A. Banks Gets Its Own Activist Investor

Following the recent events that unfolded within the struggling department store's boardroom this month, ending earlier this week with Ackman's resignation from the board of directors, some observers aren't surprised that the hedge fund investor would look to sell his stake.

The company named retail veteran Ronald Tysoe to replace Ackman on the board and said that another "another highly qualified new director" in the near future.

Ackman had been pushing for the resignation of CEO Myron "Mike" Ullman and then for Chairman Thomas Engibous to step down. The back and forth very public fight between Ackman and J.C. Penney sent shares spiraling lower, on top of the already precipitous fall the stock had following news from The New York Post that CIT Group ( CIT) "abruptly stopped financing deliveries" from smaller manufacturers that sell to J.C. Penney. The company responded the following day saying the rumor was untrue.

The stock is down 15% since July 30, the day before The New York Post story came out.

J.C. Penney shares were falling 1.9% to $13.57 at market open.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

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