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Oct. 14, 2021, 4:59 p.m. EDT

Activist investor Jana takes stake in Macy’s, urges spinning off e-commerce unit

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Dana Cimilluca, Cara Lombardo

An activist shareholder has taken a stake in Macy’s Inc. and is urging the famed retailer to spin off its fast-growing e-commerce business, according to people familiar with the matter.

Jana Partners LLC on Wednesday sent a letter to the company’s board prodding it to separate the online unit, which has about $8 billion in annual revenue, the people said.

Macy’s /zigman2/quotes/201854387/composite M -2.40% biggest department store rival, Saks Fifth Avenue, plans to  separate its e-commerce business  from its store operations as part of a deal that includes an additional investment. Macy’s e-commerce business has already drawn interest from firms that could invest in it in conjunction with a spinoff, some of the people said.

Jana believes that a stand-alone e-commerce business would be worth a multiple of Macy’s current market value, which stood at about $7 billion Thursday after a recent rally. Macy’s shares are still down substantially in the past several years, while the  valuations of online-only retailers  such as Farfetch Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203824836/composite FTCH +1.97%  and MyTheresa have soared.

Macy’s shares have rallied this year and at around $23 are now more than triple the low they tumbled to in 2020. The company’s market capitalization is down from well over $20 billion in 2015.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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/zigman2/quotes/201854387/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 29.75
-0.73 -2.40%
Volume: 17.90M
Nov. 29, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
11.14
Dividend Yield
2.02%
Market Cap
$9.12 billion
Rev. per Employee
$239,027
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/zigman2/quotes/203824836/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 36.71
+0.71 +1.97%
Volume: 5.13M
Nov. 29, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$13.36 billion
Rev. per Employee
$307,650
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