There are several suitors vying for JCPenney, which filed bankruptcy in May.
Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm based in New York, is the leading bidder at $1.75 billion, with a goal of merging the retailer with North Carolina-based Belk, according to multiple media reports.
Sycamore also owns Talbots, Staples and The Limited and sees the larger footprint of JCPenney helping to revive Belk, which has 300 stores, mostly in the South.
Other suitors for the 118-year-old Texas-based JCPenney include Hudson’s Bay Co., which owns Saks Fifth Avenue, with a bid of $1.7 billion, and mall operators Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners with a joint offer of $1.65 billion.
The bankruptcy court and JCPenney’s lenders will have to approve any deal made. Deadline for bids to the court was July 22. Each deal will be analyzed and evaluated on merit with regard to the best outcome for JCPenney creditors.
If Sycamore should win the bid, analysts agree there will likely be a rebranding of some JCPenney stores and liquidation of other assets. Sycamore withdrew its bid for Victoria’s Secret earlier this year.