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Ackman Giving Up on Retail?

Ackman Giving Up on Retail?

Updated on August 22, at 4:30 p.m.

Having to resign from J.C. Penney's board of directors must have been a humbling experience for Bill Ackman. The Chicago Tribune reports that in his latest letter to shareholders, the hedge fund investor acknowledges that all three of his major forays into retail--with Target, Borders and J.C. Penney--have been failures.

Ackman indicated he might sell his shares in J.C. Penney, noting:

"Clearly retail has not been our strong suit, and this is duly noted," Ackman wrote in a 23-page long, second-quarter letter to investors, dated August 20 and seen by Reuters.

Update: For its part, J.C. Penney's management appears sick of having to deal with willful investors as well. The retailer adapted a poison pill plan today, to prevent any individual or entity from owning more than 10 percent of its shares, according to Bloomberg. According to a quote from the Bloomberg report:

“The obvious reason is to avert any future situations as arose with Ackman and Vornado,” Bernard Sosnick, an analyst with Gilford Securities in New York, said in a telephone interview. “It was a horrible situation and it puts an end to that.”   

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