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Activist group Jana calls on Macy’s to spin off its e-commerce business to fetch higher valuation, report says

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Macy’s Herald Square Flagship Department Store in Midtown Manhattan New York.
Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Activist investor Jana Partners is reportedly encouraging the department store chain Macy’s to spin off its e-commerce business, in order to seek a higher valuation from the separate entity.

Jana stated in an investor presentation Wednesday that Macy’s online business could be worth about $14 billion, if it were to go through with the split, Bloomberg reported. Macy’s current market value is $6.9 billion.

The move would mimic a similar one from the high-end department store operator Saks Fifth Avenue, which earlier this year spilt off its digital business into a separate company. The deal valued Saks.com at $2 billion, or about double its annual sales.

Representatives from Jana and Macy’s did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

Macy’s told investors in August that it expected its e-commerce sales this year to be between $8.35 billion and $8.45 billion, after nearly doubling in the past four years.

And so if Macy’s split off its online business at a similar sales multiple to Saks.com, it would be valued at about $16.8 billion including debt, or $14.1 billion on an equity basis, Bloomberg said, citing Jana’s presentation.

Shares of Macy’s jumped nearly 4% on the report, erasing losses earlier in the day. The stock was recently up less than 1%, having doubled in value year to date.

Find the full report from Bloomberg here.

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