J.C. Penney enters asset purchase agreement with Brookfield, Simon

FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney Company Inc. store is pictured at a mall in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 17, 2018. Picture taken November 17, 2018. REUTERS/Suzanne Barlyn

(Reuters) - J.C. Penney Co Inc said on Wednesday it has entered an asset purchase agreement with Brookfield Asset Management Inc, Simon Property Group and a majority of the company’s first lien lenders.

The iconic 118-year-old retailer had filed for bankruptcy in a Texas court in May after the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to temporarily close its then nearly 850 stores.

The company said it expects to operate outside Chapter 11 before the holiday season.

Under the agreement, Brookfield and Simon, which are the retailer’s two biggest landlords, will buy substantially all of J.C. Penney’s retail and operating assets through a combination of cash and new term loan debt.

“Signing a definitive APA (asset purchase agreement) with Brookfield, Simon and our Majority First Lien Lenders allows us to move forward towards the completion of our financial restructuring,” J.C. Penney said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that talks between J.C. Penney’s lenders and the would-be buyers, Simon and Brookfield, had broken down after the lenders missed several deadlines.

Reporting by Aishwarya Nair; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel