Report: Sycamore In Bid To Acquire J.C. Penney, Merge It Into Belk

Sycamore Partners is reportedly the leader in an auction for J.C. Penney— and if the bid is successful, the private equity firm will merge the department store retailer with Belk, according to published reports.

The New York-based private equity firm owns Belk, which has 296 stores across 16 of the southern United States, according to Sycamore, as well as Talbots, Staples, Hot Topic, Aeropostale and The Limited, among others.

Who would emerge with ownership of J.C. Penney in the course of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy process has been a source of speculation, with Hudson’s Bay and mall operators such as Simon Properties also cited as suitors in media reports.

In breaking the news about the auction, the New York Post reported that Sycamore isn’t necessarily interested in retaining the J.C. Penney retail banner, but would convert about 250 stores to Belk and liquidate the rest. The report set the Sycamore bid at $1.75 billion.