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Vornado sells over 40 percent of its J.C. Penney stake

NEW YORK — The latest blow to struggling J.C. Penney: One of its biggest shareholders confirmed Wednesday that it has sold more than 40 percent of its stake. Vornado Realty Trust’s move is perhaps the biggest indicator yet that investors are losing patience with a turnaround strategy that has failed to win over shoppers.

The stock has lost two-thirds of its value in the past 12 months.

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According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Vornado sold 10 million shares at $16.03 to Deutsche Bank on Monday. That price was 9 percent lower than Penney’s closing price of $17.69 on Friday.

Vornado, which owns and manages commercial real estate, still holds 13.4 million shares, or 6.1 percent, of Penney’s stock. Vornado’s chairman and incoming CEO, Steven Roth, is a member of Plano, Texas-based Penney’s board.

Under the leadership of chief executive Ron Johnson, who came on board in November 2011, Penney scaled back most sales in favor of “everyday low prices.” It is adding back some promotions, but analysts worry it won’t be enough.

The Wall Street Journal reported that some Penney board members are considering selling the company or replacing Johnson.

Penney lost $985 million in the year through Feb. 2. Revenue fell nearly 25 percent to $12.98 billion.

The stock fell 53 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $14.43 Wednesday.

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