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The Wall Street Journal: Activist investor Jana takes stake in Macy’s, urges spinning off e-commerce unit

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
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+2.85%

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.
FTCH,
+1.50%

 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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