Finace And Stock

WSJ News Exclusive | Jana Partners Takes Stake in Macy’s, Urges Spin Off of E-Commerce Business

Macy’s was hit hard last year by the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced the temporary closure of physical stores.



Photo:

G. Ronald Lopez/Zuma Press

An activist shareholder has taken a stake in

Macy’s Inc.


M 3.69%

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 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.

and MyTheresa have soared.

Jana hinted at its interest in Macy’s at the 13D Monitor Active-Passive Investor Summit in New York last week, suggesting the retailer should separate out its e-commerce business without saying it had a stake or giving other details.

Write to Dana Cimilluca at dana.cimilluca@wsj.com and Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

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