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.
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