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Judge Says J.C. Penney Interfered With Macy's/Martha Stewart Omnimedia Agreement

Garrett Cook

A New York Judge has issued a ruling that J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) interfered with Macy's (NYSE: M) agreement with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO).

Martha Stewart Omnimedia spiked as the news hit the wire. Traders sold on J.C. Penney on the news, only to buy it back before selling it again and leaving the shares nearly unchanged. Macy's was mostly flat.

Macy's filed a lawsuit earlier this year alleging J.C. Penney infringed upon Macy's agreement with Martha Stewart intentionally. Macy's had basis for its claims as emails showed J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson telling another executive that he was urging Stewart to “talk to Macy’s about a break in a tight, exclusive agreement.”

Stewart tried to argue that the contract with Macy's couldn't have been breached, as the agreement with J.C. Penney would be to sell products not covered under the Macy's agreement.

Macy's has blocked J.C. Penney from gain Martha Stewart's "store within a store," but at the same time receives nothing in compensation, as the judge stated in the report that "Macy's failed to prove it's entitled to punitive damages."

Macy's is trading down 0.30 percent at $57.22.

J.C. Penney is down 0.35 percent at $8.58.

Martha Stewart Omnimedia hardly trades, but is currently up nearly seven percent at $4.40.

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