Amazon Is Said To Be In Talks To Buy Bankrupt J.C. Penney

Amazon.Com Inc. (AMZN) is said to be interested in snapping up debt-strapped J.C. Penney Co. Inc., (JCP) in a deal that would bolster the online retailer’s apparel business, Women’s Wear Daily reported.

Shares in J.C. Penney plunged another 23% to $0.18 before being halted on Monday. The report comes after the U.S. apparel and home retailer on Friday filed for bankruptcy protection proceedings.

As part of its “renewal” plan, the Plano-based company said it will to cut its debt, streamline operations, close stores and spin off a real estate division in a move to come back in a stronger position. It has about 850 stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

“There is an Amazon team in Plano as we speak,” according to the WWD report. “There is a dialogue and I’m told it has a lot to do with Amazon eager to expand its apparel business.”

J.C. Penney has $500 million in cash on hand as of the Chapter 11 filing date, the retailer said in a SEC filing. In addition, the company received commitments for $900 million in financing from its existing first lien lenders, which includes $450 million of new money.

“This financing, combined with cash flow generated by the company’s ongoing operations, is expected to be sufficient to meet J.C. Penney’s operational and restructuring needs,” the company said. “As part of the commitment from its existing lenders, J.C. Penney will explore additional opportunities to maximize value, including a third-party sale process.”

It looks like Amazon is on a shopping spree as the economic crisis induced by the coronavirus pandemic is creating opportunities for mergers and acquisitions. The world’s largest online retailer has reportedly also held talks to buy debt-strapped theatre operator AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (AMC).

Wall Street analysts are bearish about J.C. Penney’s stock with 2 Sells and 2 Holds adding up to a Moderate Sell consensus. Should the $0.36 average price target be met, investors could be looking at 98% upside potential in the shares in the coming 12 months. (See J.C. Penney stock analysis on TipRanks).

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