J.C. Penney Takes Poison Pill To Dissuade Future Ackmans

Aug 23 2013 | 5:28am ET

J.C. Penney Co. wants to make sure it doesn’t have another William Ackman to deal with.

The retailer, recently embroiled in a very public fight with the Pershing Square Capital Management chief, its largest shareholder, adopted a poison pill that makes it very difficult and expensive to buy more than 10% of the company. The shareholder rights plan will expire in a year and doesn’t cover Pershing Square—as long as any increase in its stake doesn’t violate existing agreements with the company.

The plan will “protect against potential future use of coercive or abusive takeover techniques,” J.C. Penney said.

Pershing Square owns nearly 18% of J.C. Penney. Ackman resigned from the company’s board last week after publicly calling for the replacement of the company’s chairman and interim CEO.

Following his exit, Ackman said he would consider selling off his stake in J.C. Penney. The poison pill makes it unlikely that another activist would be able to take his place.

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