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George Soros takes 7.9% stake in J.C. Penney, stock soars

George Soros takes 7.9% stake in J.C. Penney, stock soars
2013 file photo of financier George Soros. (ChinaFotoPress / Getty Images)

Billionaire financier George Soros seems to be showing faith in J.C. Penney's chances at a turnaround, taking a 7.9% stake in the struggling retailer.

The hedge fund titan bought nearly 17.4 million shares through his Soros Fund Management, according to a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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The move places Soros among J.C. Penney's five largest shareholders. In after-hours trading, shares of the discount department store chain surged, zooming up 7%.

The stock had closed up a third of a percent, or 5 cents, at $15.24 a share.

Fellow hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, through his Pershing Square Capital Management firm, currently owns nearly 18% of J.C. Penney.

The retailer has been roiled by changes this month. Chief Executive Ron Johnson was replaced by Myron E. Ullman III after a year and a half of slumping sales, confused customers and concerned murmurings on Wall Street.

Several executives instituted during Johnson's tenure have since left the company as well.

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