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Soros Takes Stake in JCP

Billionaire investor George Soros has bought a 7.9% stake in JCPenney, the beleaguered retailer formerly headed by Ron Johnson. Johnson was ousted after his ambitious turnaround plan stumbled, and was replaced by former CEO Mike Ullman.

Soros’ stake is passive, limiting his ability to influence the operations of the company.

JCP shares were up 6.3% on the news, which was released by the retailer via a regulatory filing.

Soros joins major investor and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman in choosing JCP. Ackman pushed the hiring of Ron Johnson and, later, the loss of his support led to Johnson’s ouster. Ackman owns almost 18% of the company.

Johnson’s tenure was tumultuous, with shares falling nearly 50% and same store traffic down by more than 25%. His new ideas led to important changes, but the company has seen increasingly deep losses, partly due to the loss of its traditional customer base.