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JC Penney shares rise as George Soros discloses a 7.9 per cent stake in department store chain

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Shares of beleaguered retailer J.C. Penney rose more than 6 per cent in aftermarket trading on Thursday after billionaire financier George Soros disclosed a 7.9 per cent stake in the company.

Soros disclosed he owns about 17.4 million shares of the Plano, Texas, department store operator in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC requires shareholders to disclose stakes of 5 per cent or more in a company.

Shares gained 92 cents, or 6 per cent, to $16.16 in aftermarket trading, after ending 5 cents higher at $15.24.

J.C. Penney earlier this month fired its CEO, Ron Johnson, after 17 months on the job and rehired his predecessor Mike Ullman. An ambitious turnaround plan by Johnson had backfired and caused sales to plummet.

The chain has been burning through cash. The company last week said it would draw $850 million from its $1.85 billion revolving credit line to pay for replenishing inventory, particularly for its overhauled home area.

The stake makes Soros the fourth largest shareholder in J.C. Penney. The top shareholder is activist investor William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital, with a 17.8 per cent stake.